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   Can this image be protected under copyright law?
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   Author  Topic: Can this image be protected under copyright law?  (Read 4368 times)
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Can this image be protected under copyright law?
« on: Dec 6th, 2007, 5:52pm »
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Here's the scenario.
 
I have a site that freely distributes graphics for people to post to their websites.
 
The graphics are created by freelance graphic designers, paid by us to create them, using clipart, our phrases, and some sort of animated effect.  
 
The designers, by way of a monthly fee to a graphics site, use clipart, licensed to them, to make the graphics and use them for commercial purposes.  
 
Once the graphics are sent to us we add our site logo to each graphic and in some cases a Copyright symbol.
 
Recently we've run into a "competitor" (a site that in the exact special niche business as ourselves) that is taking our graphics, removing the logo, and using it on their own site; in fact every graphic on their site has been taken from the internet using the same method.
 
I've approached this individual and they claim that they do not have to remove the graphic because it it NOT Copyrightable.
 
So my question; do I have a valid claim to these graphics? Can I make a "valid" DCMA claim to Google or to this persons hosting company to have them removed?
 
Thanks
 
 
 
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JSonnabend
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Re: Can this image be protected under copyright la
« Reply #1 on: Dec 7th, 2007, 8:48am »
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If there is "artwork", then there is copyrightable subject matter in all likelihood.  I'm confused as to who's creating what.  Under your scenario, it's quite possible that the copyright owners are your artists, not you.
 
- Jeff
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Re: Can this image be protected under copyright la
« Reply #2 on: Dec 7th, 2007, 11:52am »
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Hi Jeff, thanks for the response.
 
You're right, the artists are the ones creating the graphics but they support my position and are prepared to transfer ownership to me if it's necessary.
 
Any idea what constitutes "artwork"? The site that has our graphics are claiming that "mere textual ornamentation" is not protected under copyright law.  
 
The graphics include the licensed clipart, adding text, choosing the font, font size, and color, bezel, positioning of the font, adding a border to the font, and finally adding a glitter effect/animation to either the border or to the entire image.
 
To me it seems that it's more than just simple ornamentation, but I'm not sure how someone else would view it.
 
Thanks
 
Btw, I managed to post a sample grapic to my Intelproplaw profile if anyone would care to look or comment.
 
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Fred
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Re: Can this image be protected under copyright la
« Reply #3 on: Dec 7th, 2007, 12:46pm »
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[quote author=JSonnabend <snip> Under your scenario, it's quite possible that the copyright owners are your artists, not you.
 
- Jeff [/quote]
 
Though if he is paying them to create the clipart for him, it is also quite possible that they are "works for hire."
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Re: Can this image be protected under copyright la
« Reply #4 on: Dec 7th, 2007, 3:43pm »
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on Dec 7th, 2007, 12:46pm, Fred wrote:
Though if he is paying them to create the clipart for him, it is also quite possible that they are "works for hire."

 
Only if there is a written agreement designated the work as work for hire.   Simply paying for a work transfers ownership of the copy but does not transfer ownership of the copyright.
 
I think it unlikely that works discussed here are works for hire.
« Last Edit: Dec 7th, 2007, 4:42pm by Isaac » IP Logged

Isaac
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