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Copyright for Visual Communication: Usage Rights Categories

Know your rights and limitations.

Copyright

Copyright

  • Is owned by the creator except in specific circumstances (e.g. items created within regular employment).
  • Is automatically granted to the creator - no registration is required. However, registration has legal benefits.
  • Covers derivative works - other items based on the original work.
  • Expires 50 years after the death of the creator.
  • Does not apply to titles, short phrases or slogans, ideas, facts or works without originality.
  • Can be licensed for commercial use by others only by the owner.
  • Applies to both print and digital equally.
  • Must be negotiated by format (what forms are covered?), date (how long?) and scope (how many? where?).

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

  • Can only be applied by the copyright owner.
  • Has many versions (see below).
  • Allows usage rights to be conferred automatically within the terms of the chosen licence. 
  • Creative Commons 0 is like public domain, waives as many rights as legally possible.

 

Creative Commons 0 is like Public Domain:

Trademark

Trademark

  • Is owned by the business associated with the item.
  • Protects a company's reputation and ability to conduct business.
  • Is used to distinguish one business from another. 
  • Is automatically granted to the business - no registration is required. However, registration has legal benefits.
  • Registered trademark needs to be renewed every 15 years.
  • Can be licensed for commercial use to others only by the owner.
  • Applies to both print and digital equally.

Public Domain

Public Domain

  • Means that no one owns copyright or licensing rights.
  • Is automatic 50 years after the creator's death (Canada).
  • Is specific to each country. For example. In the US, it is currently set at 75 years after the creator's death.
  • Can be conferred to items at any time by their creator/copyright owner.
  • Is automatic for items created by the US government. The Canadian government retains rights to some items.

Other Public Domain/Creative Commons 0 symbols: