Copyright for the Freelance Artist Part 3: Copyright Infringement and Defenses

  by Lee Morin, Esq. Articles related to¬†Copyright for the Freelance Artist series may be found here: Part 1: Copyright Basics (The 101) Part 2: 3 Types of Employment Agreements Part 4: A Case Study of Momocon   In our last blog, Copyright for the Freelance Artist, Pt. 2, we discussed three types of agreements employers and artists might use when collaborating: work for hire, assignment, and license. In Copyright for the Freelance Artist, Pt. 1, we defined copyright, stated what subject matter it protects, the exclusive rights it grants, and outlined the benefits of registration, for example, access to federal courts and statutory damages in enforcement proceedings.   Moral Rights/ Les Droits Morale As a freelance artist, you may decide that registering federal copyright in your creative works provides you with the means to protect them. Moral rights, which exist in Europe, provide artists with the means to further protect their works, which rights are inalienable, meaning they cannot be contracted away, and include the right to create, to determine completeness, to withdraw, to attribution, and to integrity. The United States recognizes a limited set of moral rights for visual artists [.1]; thus, an artist, who paints, draws, prints, sculpts, and photographs images for exhibition only, in single copies or limited editions of 200 or less, signed and consecutively numbered, may assert their moral rights to attribution and integrity. Copyright Registration for Artists For all other artists, copyright registration is the sole method by which you may protect your creative works from impermissible exploitation, by enabling the copyright owner to exclude others from use. The use of your...