Copywrite and how to avoid being flaimed!
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(Almost) Everything You Will Need to Know About Copyright

Part 1: What is copyright?

Depending on where you live, copyright can mean and cover many different things. However, since Alacrity is hosted in America, American copyright laws are what its members are expected to follow.
Copyright, according to the U.S. government, is "a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of "original works of authorship,"including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works."(

This means any copyright holder has the right to:

  • reproduce the work in copies;
  • prepare derivative works based upon the work;

  • distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

  • display the work publicly;


    What does this mean for you?

    Unless you are the copyright holder of an image (AKA you drew the image or took the picture yourself), you have no rights to the image. This means, unless the publisher specifies the image can be used publically, you may not: reproduce the image, prepare derivative works (these are photo manips), distribute copies by sale, rental, lease, or lending, or display the work publically (this means you are allowed to take an image and use it as your background picture on your computer).

    Part 2: How to avoid breaking the law

    Many people do not know this, but by using something copywritten (be it music, art, pictures, etc) you are actually breaking the law. By breaking this law, you are punishable by a fine and up to 5 years in jail (

    How do you know if an image is copywritten or not?

  • Step 1: Does the website seem reliable? Google is not a source for images, as it is not the host of the images- it simply collects them. It is safe to assume most, if not all, of the images on Google are copywritten. If the website you are on has its sites name in sparkly letters, it is very likely to not be reliable. Two well known stock image websites are and

  • Step 2: If the website looks safe, great! Now look around the entire website, from top of the page to bottom. Does it have a ©? Most websites will have this symbol. This means "Ëœcopyright"â„¢ and will generally be followed by a year and a company name. If you have established the website is copywritten, you will need to look all around the image. Does it say anywhere "Ëœfree for public use"â„¢ or "Ëœstock image"â„¢ etc? If not, it is copywritten and you should not take it.

  • Step 3: If the website does not have a © symbol, but also says no where that the image is free, you should not take it.

  • Step 4: If you really, really like the image but cannot find anywhere if you can use it or not, try to find a way to contact the webmaster or image taker. Sometimes, photographers will not mind if you use their image for personal use- such as a kennel layout.

  • Step 5: Respect the copyright holder. If they request you not use the image for monetary gain, do not sell the image, etc.

    What are stock images?

    Stock images are photographs that the photographer has uploaded to the internet to be used freely by others. They often will have terms of use, which will generally say things such as "Ëœcredit must be given"â„¢ and "Ëœyou may not use this image for monetary gain."â„¢

    What does "Ëœcredit must be given"â„¢ mean?

    This means that on your finished piece of work, you must put where you got the image from. For example: I take an image from, the website says I must credit it if I use their image. I use it to create a photomanipulation. Somewhere in my finished piece, I will put "œDog Picture ©"

    Part 3: Anything else you may need to know

    What types of work is covered by copyright law?

    1 literary works

    2 musical works, including any accompanying words

    3 dramatic works, including any accompanying music

    4 pantomimes and choreographic works

    5 pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works

    6 motion pictures and other audiovisual works

    7 sound recordings

    8 architectural works


    5 covers both drawn images and photographs. This means you cannot simply take pictures from websites such as deviantArt and Furaffinity either.

    A few links you may find helpful:

    The U.S. Law on Copyright

    U.S. Government F.A.Q.s about copyright

    Everything you need to know (.PDF file)

  • 01-24-2012 at 1:27 PM
    Thank you heleasher


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