Beginner’s Guide on How to Avoid Copyright Infringement

On occasion we get asked to print a design that includes a logo or design that is copyrighted. We either turn down the job or ask the client to remove the copyrighted logo (we don’t want to get sued y’all). Here is a great guide to making sure your logo or design does not include copyrighted material.

With the rise of viral street art, pop art and popular inspirational slogans – it’s not surprising that 64 percent of professionals had work stolen over 200 times in 2016. Knowing whether a design includes copyrighted material could mean the difference between success and a lawsuit.

Unfortunately, there’s no one site that houses every protected image or vector for you to check before you start printing. However, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to navigate.

How to Tell if Something Is Copyrighted

As a basic guideline, any work published after Jan. 1, 1978, is automatically copyrighted from creation to 70 years after the artist’s death. Anything published before Jan. 1, 1978, was required to be registered with the Copyright Office, and includes a notice of copyright © on the work. Here’s what that means:

  • Any work published before Jan. 1, 1923 is in the public domain…

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