Visual Arts and Graphic Design

The Law Offices of Daniel T. Goodwin has assisted many visual artists in Colorado, including:

  • Photographers
  • Illustrators
  • Graphic designers
  • Painters
  • Sculptors
  • Comic creators
  • Animators
  • Other fine artists

Legal issues involving visual arts may also be important to certain businesses, including:

  • Design firms
  • Art galleries
  • Advertising agencies
  • Magazines, books or e-zines
  • Artist representatives
  • Commissioning parties

Copyright

Copyright law is integral to anyone in the visual arts.  It is what allows then to earn income from their creative works, and control how, when and whether those works are used.  Copyright infringement is the unauthorized or prohibited use of protected material. You may need legal help if you find out someone else is using your visual work without permission, or in a way that is far beyond the scope of what you intended for the work.

Graphic Designers

Graphic designers in particular often face interesting and complex copyright issues, and may need legal assistance to keep their business activities successful.  

One example is that the “author” of works created by a graphic designer might actually be several different parties.  Often such works are created for a client, or are created by a team of designers or a design firm.

Understanding the nuances of copyright law (common issues to understand are “implied” copyright licenses, works for hire, and the different between an assignment versus a license), and regularly utilizing certain legal documents or language to clarify expectations and understandings is often a good idea in order to protect the designer’s business, reputation and livelihood.

Although creating things for clients is usually a significant part of a graphic designer’s job, when a client pays for design services, it does not automatically mean they own the copyright to the finished product.  In fact, by default the legal rights to the graphic designer’s work remain with the designer!

When a graphic designer understands copyright law and how to best control their own work product, they can protect their business and avoid legal hassles in the future.

Clearance and Licensing 

Graphic designers need to understand not only how they license their work, but also how to license the work of others. That’s because in every design there are often elements that you did not make yourself and whose copyright does not belong to you. There can be text you did not write, photographs you did not take, or typefaces you did not create. You need to make sure all the rights are secured before your design goes online or rolls off the press.  Often your client is relying on your to make sure that what you have given them does not infringe on anyone else’s legal rights.

To schedule a consultation with a member of our team regarding your visual arts business or project, please call the us at (303) 763-1600 or submit our online contact form.