GD212 Copyright Issues
Week 9

This week we'll start by looking at a case between an artist and her client. Try to imagine yourself in the position of an employer, an employee and an independent contractor. This will help us in our examination of copyright and trademark registration. Finally, we'll learn about protecting your copyright, as well as how to allow others to use your material.


Unless noted, the subjects listed below are briefly covered in Chapters 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and several appendices of How to Register Your Own Copyright by Mark Warda.


(Hot-link items are resources on the Web. LRC items are in the Learning Resource Center, on reserve.)

Legal Eagle Activity:

Read the two "For Hire" sections in Fieldís "Copyright in Visual Arts," then study "Eva Mudd v. Gimmix. Inc.". Notice that there are more than two figurine designs under discussion and three manufacturers.

Who manufactured the first sets of black fly figurines (through 1995)?

What prompted Eva Mudd to seek relief?

How did Gimmix respond to Eva Mudd filing an action?

What did the courtís determine was the status of the work relationship?

Why did Eva Mudd possess all rights to her figurine designs even though Porter had provided a drawing?

What are the benefits of remaining an independent contractor who assigns rights to the client?

What should Eva Mudd have done in the first place? Why?

Why Register Your Copyright?

Ch. 5 (2 pages)
Name the eight reasons why you should register your copyrights and trademarks.

Which are the most important to you?

Those Who Can Claim and Register a Copyright

Ch. 6
Authors/Creators
Heirs: Who is the decedent?
Spouses: Is California a community property state? What does that mean?


Employers: See the next section on how an "employee" (including "for-hire") is defined. According to a 1989 Supreme Court ruling, what determines whether you are an employee rather than an independent contractor? Also look at Eva Mudd's case (above) for an example of "other things which employers typically control."
a.
b.
c.
d.
Buyers of Creative Works: If you are buying artwork for your online magazine, what relationship would you prefer to have with the creators of those works?

Name two artistic media that are specifically allowed to be made up of works-made-for-hire?


What is an assignment of copyright?

See the sample agreements in Appendix I: Useful Written Agreements
What is the difference between the For-Hire Agreement and the Assignment of Copyright Agreement?



Define Contributor:

Define Collaborator:

Define Assignee:

Registering Your Copyright

Ch. 7
Application: Which form are you likely to use someday?

Filing Fee: Update this fee amount.

Copies of the Work: Return to the Field article above and read the "The Registration/Deposit Process" section. What rule contains an exception for visual artists? Explain.

Study Sample Filled-In Form VA (Appendix A) and the Blank Forms and Instructions for Form VA and Short Form VA (Appendix H). Looking at the sample form, could Jose Santiago have filled out the Short Form VA instead?

What are some of the issues that determine whether you fill out the long form or the short form?


Protecting Copyrights

Ch. 9
If you publish a revised version of your registered work, what should you do to protect the revised work?

Transferring a Copyright: Licensing Use of a Work

Ch. 10
Define Non-exclusive License

Define Exclusive License

What is Recordation?

What is Revocation?

How does license differ from assignment?


See the sample license agreement at the end of Appendix I

In-Class Activity

In class we'll read the PDN article (in LRC):
Madlin, Nancy. "Five Cases that Made History," PDN Sept. 1985: 24-26. What is the significance of each to any artist working as an independent contractor?