The snow has melted a little and the big icicles have fallen from our windows. The icicles were so huge they shook the house as they fell sending my dog and cats into tizzies.
But the snow is still so deep I can't get leave the drive way and road.
I have been working on my botanical prints, flowers and foliage that I scan directly into the computer, photographs made without using a camera.
I have developed a technique that creats a sheer, almost x-ray effect, luminous. I especially like the transparency of the foliage in these images.
They are available on Etsy now in various sizes or as cards.
As some of you know I was an attorney in my prior life, art of course is a little less lucrative (hah!) but a lot more fun.
I often have a hard time reading the Etsy forums because of the all the incorrect legal advice and misinformation given there. So I think I will begin a little series on copyright and trademark - some of the basics and especially some of the issues that come up again and again like copyrighting patterns and the creations made from patterns, using licensed fabrics, etc.
First of all keep in mind that law is complicated, there are often no clear answers. Law has two main sources - written laws - the constitution and statutes and case law - the law as it is interpreted by the courts. Lawmakers cannot foresee all the complicated human situations that will arise so the courts must interpret the law on a case by case basis, creating legal precidents that are themselves reinterpreted by other courts. Anyway just keep in mind that there are rarely black and white answers.
What can be copyrighted? Any original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. For the visuals artist this includes:
paintings, photographs, prints, reproductions, maps, drawings, charts, diagrams, sculpture, models, wall reliefs, jewelry.
What cannot be copyrighted?
1. Ideas or other intangibles. An idea cannot be copyrighted only its expression.
For example, you are a photographer and you come up with the original idea of photographing a sunset (let us assume this has never been done before). You can copyright the actual photo you took but not the idea of photographing sunsets. All the other photographers in the world are free to steal your idea and photograph a million sunsets, and then copyright their photos.
2. Useful objects, anything that is primarily utilitarian.
You CANNOT copyright, hats, glove, clothing, toys, toasters, pencils, purses etc.
There are sometimes other legal issues with knock offs of clothing, purses etc. but they are not copyright issus.
There is a major exception - if the useful object has art work on it, that art work is protected by copyright. So if you put your painting on a t-shirt, the t-shirt design cannot be copyrighted but your painting is protected.