Why Your Graphics Artist Will Save You Money (and Keep you Out of Jail)

by Louellen Coker on February 19, 2009

Angry lioness in the Serengeti, photo by Louellen S. Coker.

Photo by Louellen S. Coker, Content Solutions.

You can find clip art everywhere, and many users mistakenly believe that most or all the images they find on the Internet is “public domain” and can be freely copied and used. Some will even harvest collections of graphics, package, and sell them to you.

Our friends over at Compliance Matters, remind us in their recent post that

In reality, a great deal of clip art images are commercially owned—and commercially valuable—copyrighted works that area licensed or sold by the copyright owner.

If you violate this copyright, you open yourself up for a lot of hurt.

How will snagging a free graphic every now and again hurt you (and land you in jail)?

When you find an image (or text, or software, or a host of other content, for that matter) online that you want to do. We encourage you to resist the urge to hit copy and paste. Much of what you find on the web is copyrighted and these copyright owners, who like to protect their content in the same way a lioness protects her cubs, are starting to vent their frustrations against copyright infringement by filing lawsuits against offenders.

When you snag that free graphic or that choice block of text, you need to be aware that the copyright laws apply on the Internet just as they apply to more traditional media. Penalties go beyond chump-change for the majority of us…up to $150,000 per infringement. And that infringement means each time the content is used! And, in cases of willful violation, criminal penalties are waiting in the wings. In short, it’s a really bad idea to snag someone’s content.

How can your graphics artist save you money?

Your graphics artist can create or help you find the appropriate license for the artwork you need for much less than the potential out of pocket expenses you will incur.

How much will going to your graphics artist cost you? Well, that depends. A good graphics artist will talk with you about what your goals are and will lead you in the right direction. Pricing depends on the complexity of the work and how you will use it. Graphics sometimes look simple, but in reality can take a great deal of time and energies to create something that is impactful in its ultimate usage. You’ll have to talk with your designers, writers, and developers to answer the pricing question. But you can rest assured that, by the time you get hit with all the out of pocket expenses (don’t forget you’ll have to hire an attorney to help you!) that will come your way, your graphics artist is really worth her weight in gold and will ultimately save you money.

How can your graphics artist protect your interests?

Photo by Louellen S. Coker, Content Solutions

Photo by Louellen S. Coker, Content Solutions

When you talk with your graphics artist, you’ll want to discuss who retains the copyright information of all elements of your project be it graphic or content. She will then take steps to protect your assets. At Content Solutions, we create the content you need and are diligent to

  • embed copyright information in all the content we create.
  • purchase the appropriate licenses when obtaining stock graphics. (If you want us to snag something, please go elsewhere!)
  • never distribute elements of your project to others without the appropriate permissions.
  • protect your assets.

If your content provider isn’t doing these things for you or you get the wild idea to just snag that little bit of content. RUN (don’t walk!) to the nearest exit. Pick up your phone or open up another browser tab and contact a professional who will give you want you need while keeping you from digging deeper into your pockets.

Trust your graphics artist to keep your business purring!

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