You love to learn and be inspired, don’t you? Whether it’s creativity, strategies or world-changing ideas.

Basic Copyright Rules And Tips For Creative ArtistsBut there is a big difference between using someone’s ideas to get your creative juices flowing and flat out stealing someone else’s stuff.

Avoid getting in trouble for copyright infringement and get to know the basics.

When I have a copyright, what rights do I have?

Generally, the owner of a US copyright has the exclusive right to and to authorize others to:

  1. Reproduce the work;
  2. Prepare “derivative” works based on the work;
  3. Distribute copies of the work;
  4. To perform the work publicly, in the case of, for example, musical works;
  5. Display the work publicly, in the case of, for example, visual works; and
  6. In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

Check this video for a quick overview of the basic of copyright for artists:


Always trace quotes to the original source (where, to whom, or which publication the person said it to), mention the source and link to it within the article. (Example, “According to CNN” or “Martha Stewart said”. Hyperlink the source directly to the name of the entity that said that quote.


Photos that can be used: Photos from companies, official websites, personal photos/ selfies that the celebrities posted themselves (in social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

Facebook selfies may be ok if clearly taken by the same person on their own account and is clearly an amateur pic.

However, where celebrities post professional photos on their social media accounts you MUST NOT take those (as they are still copyrighted – the company or photographer generally won’t care if the celeb posts their photo up, but will sue a media publication that takes their photo without a payment/license).

  1. Screenshots (e.g. video interviews, games, movies, etc.)
  2. License-free photos (e.g. NASA)
  3. Photos from Reuters
  4. Photos from Wikimedia Commons and Creative Commons

Photos that cannot be used:

  1. Paparazzi shots
  2. Red carpet
  3. Images from other websites
  4. Photos that require license or permission to use (Wired Images, Shuttlestock, etc.)

Provide the source of the image. If it comes from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, please indicate which account.

You can also try embedding Twitter or Instagram photos, YouTube videos, and tweets. Copy the embed code from the source, then paste it on your article.

Photos should generally be at least 600 pixels in width, but can be larger (1200 pixels width etc), and they should be as good quality as possible, not very blurry and bad quality.

That’s it. Have you ever had your artwork stolen? Did someone accused you for copying others’ work?

Let us hear your stories in the comments below. Be sure to share any advice you have to others going through the same problem.

Gary Capps

I live in the one of the most beautiful places in the world on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with my wife and our 2 dogs, Poppy and Mia. Since 2009 I have helped over 15,000 handmade business owners to grow their business with our software and free tools designed for todays entrepreneurial artisan.

Related Posts

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply