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Author Topic: How can I be sure digital art is original and not a stolen work that has a copyr  (Read 436 times)


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My husband and I own a small internet company and in addition to our regular products, we sell t-shirts with our logo and would like to have some new designs with and without our logo. Not being artists ourselves, we were going to hold a social media contest where artists would create designs for us and the best entries would be awarded with prizes from our store. The problem is that I am afraid some people might download something from the internet and submit it as their own. If that happened and we put it on tshirts and sold them, we then, would be unwittingly stealing someone's artwork and possibly infringing on a copyright.  Is there a way to prove that a submitted piece of digital art is original work by the person who submitted it and to find out if a work is copyrighted?

Robert T Nicholson

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Two suggestions:

(1)  Require all submissions to be accompanied by a signed agreement stating that it is the artist's original work, and indemnifying you for all cost arising from any copyright infringement suit.  You want to make this scary enough to dissuade people from submitting pirated work.

(2)  Take all the digital files submitted and run them through both and Google image search.

This post is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.

Robert Nicholson Consulting | Copyright Safeguard | ED Treatment Center


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Damn, beat by just a couple of minutes. :)

But I'll add:  you should also have the artist assign the rights to you.  And, regarding the indemnification clause that Robert mentioned, you should probably only accept artworks from people who live in countries where your contract is enforceable.  For about half of the planet, there's just no point in even trying;  even when you win a judgment, you'll never be able to enforce it, and not even because they're poor but because their governments refuse to penalize their own citizens to benefit a foreigner.  And I don't just mean places like India;  the South Korean judicial system can go [censored] [censored] and [censored] as far as I'm concerned.
"The life of a patent solicitor has always been a hard one."  Judge Giles Rich, Application of Ruschig, 379 F.2d 990.

Disclaimer: not only am I not a lawyer, I'm not your lawyer.  Therefore, this does not constitute legal advice.


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