Monday, September 27, 2010

On respecting copyrights

First, to clarify, we don't have a legal issue right now. We don't want to scare anyone!

However, an email from a family member who received a card from their hero has raised a little concern. They recognized a photo used on the card they were sent - and they knew the photographer. The person was not unhappy, but it got us thinking....that is possibly a copyright violation!

As artists, we all understand the value of what we create. We wouldn't want someone taking our work and using it elsewhere, and claiming it's theirs. So we also want to be certain our cards respect the rights of others as well, so we're asking that you make certain you have proper permission to use someone's work of art.

This guideline covers:
  • photography
  • illustration
  • other 'repurposed' things - like using storebought cards to create new cards.
  • licensed products that are *not* intended for crafting (purchasing a Mickey Mouse cricut cartridge = fine; cutting up your program from your Disney vacation and using it on a card = not good.)
While there are instances when this can be okay (and we're not lawyers to know what they are!), our recommendation is to NOT use these things if you do not have the express written permission of the creator. Be aware that just because something is on a blog to be shared, it doesn't mean you can download and print it to use - make sure it's been given by the creator, not just shared by a blogger.

Many of you, we know, will be saddened by this - you love to repurpose things and recycle old cards. But please don't do that for OWH cards. Our name goes on the back of these, and therefore we'll be responsible if a photographer decides they didn't want their picture on a card, or if Hallmark gets mad if someone sees a repurposed card front with our name, not their crown. We'd rather not risk that.

Some of you may know when it is and isn't okay to use/repurpose something. While we're happy to have your feedback (feel free to leave comments below!), we ask that you respect our desire to stay far far away from any hint of copyright violation. Our OWH family is SO creative, we have many other ways to make cards and create new things without using the work of another artist, and we feel it's reasonable to ask that our cards stay totally on the legal side.

Thanks for understanding!

4 comments:

Tigger said...

Waitaminnit! If you have a physical item, you can repurpose it all you like. Feel free to chop up a comic book and paste the little characters all over a card you send. It is *copy* right, not *use* right. The person who made the comic book either owned the copyright or paid the artist for the right to make those copies.

You run into trouble if you photograph or photocopy your new creation, not when you give out an altered version of an already legal copy.

Sandy said...

Tigger while that could be true, we found we have to set some firm guidelines when we have this many volunteers. When we give an inch, there'll be someone taking a mile, so we've opted to just say not to use these copyrighted items. We already get way too many things that are past the line we feel comfortable with, so tightening up our guidelines seems to be in the best interest of the organization.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean we can no longer cut up old greeting cards and use part of them? Old calendar pictures?

Lori said...

Yes, cause the conflicts with the other new guideline on using card front pieces. Can we or can't we.

Lori (Missouri)