Copyright: what is your thought on this subject!?

It would be interesting to hear what people think about Copyright on images, especially because I know that people in many different countries and continents visit my website and blog.

In my own opinion copyright is very important and a very obvious issue. Any creative who creates images do so useally originally because they have the urge and need to do so since childhood. Then when he or she get the oportunity to make a living out of it, the copyright is an important thing to make an income.

For example everytime a company of any sort re-use an illustration by me, they pay a fee for the use. Like going to the video store renting a movie. People download all kinds of movies, music and computer programs on the internet, and they see it as their right to do so, saying the internet is free, and its only used for personal use. Like taping an old fashioned cassette player tape, listening to ones music in an ipod or whatever.

Should this also aply on images? Illustrators work to make a living, some more succesfully than others, but it is a job, and then when they see their work being used by someone without their knowledge, agreement or payed for, they many times dont have the strenght to fight it. In Sweden the Association I am a member of, paying my yearly fee to, has 1-2 employed lawyers. They help out in many legal issues, many times in contact with company´s of all sorts. And its also payed for when needed through the yearly fee to the association. But in many countries there is no such help to get. And therefore illustrators and other creatives are standing by themselves. And via the internet they suddenly are supposed to like the situation when their images and copyright is used unvillingly. What is your thought.

Here is a text I have on my website
It is a text I have taken from the Swedish association of Illustrator & Graphic Designers choose English button on the site.
More about international associations can be read about on ICOGRADA´s website

Stefan Lindblad
Illustrator & artist

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  1. Protecting the intellectual property is certainly a critical thing these days… both for content creators such as yourself, and tools creators such as CorelDRAW. While not exactly the same, there are very strong similarities between “stealing” the artwork you create and pirating software.


  2. Hi Gérard,

    I absolutly agree.
    The similarity is correct. I remember in mid late 90´s when people looked at me as stupid for paying for the software, now there have been a change in attitude, its my feeling anyway.

    I am certain somewhere in Sweden, my country, or in some other country, some of my illustrations are being used without permission.

    Its a fact of life I guess.

    A former client of mine, an Editor in Chief at a Swedish magazine about cranes said he thought Copyright was overrated. With that attitude its of course not easier to protect ones rights.

  3. Hi Stefan. I wouldn’t say copyright is over rated, but I would definitely say it is over broad.

    Originally created to protect book printers it was for a period of 7 years and only covers verbatim copies. Now it is for the life of the author plus 50 70 or 90 years depending on the country, and covers all manor of derived works.

    While it is important that artists get due compensation, it is also important that those same artists get access to raw materials for their work, individuals keep control of their own hardware, and that freedom of speech is not lost.

    I would like to see the term of copyright reduced. I would like to see registration as a requirement to keep copyright for more than a very few years. I would like to see Digital Restrictions Management legislated out of existance. I would like to see more fair use provisions for non commercial, parody and satire.

    For more of what I think look at my website Death By Copyright


  4. Infringer I agree. It’s a delicate balance between protecting your rights and keeping innovation alive. Content creators need a better way to protect their content. Take a look at iCopyright’s beta version of a new interactive copyright tag: It will also serve as a private database of content. iCopyright is trying to strike that delicate balance between creator’s rights, user’s rights, and the greater good.
    Kind Regards,
    Tyson O’Donnell

  5. Hi guys,

    I would not like to a situation like the “…term of copyright reduced…to keep copyright for more than a very few years…”, as Infringer suggest. For example that would effect me in a negative way as a copyright owner, and business man, which a creative is as well.

    For example when I buy a car, or any other goods that I can place my physical hand on, it is mine. And it is mine until I give it away or sell it. My ownership “right” dont go away after 7 years. It is mine to keep for as long as I feel to keep it.

    Why then would my rights to my own made images suddenly be lost, and let all small and large companies, as well as private people to make money out of them, without paying for it?

    I cant go to the Ferrari factory in Italy and clame ownership to one of their cars without paying for it, no matter how old it is.

    Why is it that creatives suddenly have to give up what they have created with their own hands, for free? That I dont get. Why?

    Why should other business rules apply on creatives?

    Its one thing to tape a cassette or a CD, to make a copy for private use. Or cut, paste or print an image for private use and enjoyment, but to give away ones rights?

  6. The challenge is that opposite of physical good, where one copy is “unique” and it makes it easy to define ownership, intangible goods such as digital photos, digital music or software can be copied at virtually no cost. It is actually part of the advantage. The cost of creating the 1st one is huge, the cost of creating every other after is “free”.

    The Copyright owner should have control over his creations for a “long enough” period (and 100+ years is to long in my mind), at the same time, you need a good system to manage orphan IP, e.g. the one where the creator is no longer able to make it available. There was a very interesting interview on TWiT recently if you listen to that podcast.


  7. Hi Gérard,

    I didnt listen to the interview on TWiT, the podcast. Any link address?

    A long enough period of time is a question of opinion – for lawyers 😉 But I agree, it should be for a long enough period.

    I believe the length of copyright is 70 years in Sweden for the moment.

  8. Oh, I wonder for how long Georg Lucas will have the copyrigth for all related to “Star Wars” 😉 …
    Or Frank Miller will have the copyright for all his images made for his “Sin City” Graphi Novel series, or maybe he lost it to the publishing hose that published it. Either way, making business is what making images and software is about. When I started out, drawing my first drawing it was not about money, but to pay my rent and eat, and even having the possibility to draw as much as I like too, I have to make money, and make it a business. So Copyright is very important from both an artist point of view as well as a business point of view.

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