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What is the Law of Copyright?

 Copyright symbolThis article addresses what is the law of copyright as it applies to craft artists and their designs. Confusing and conflicting information about what you can and can't do with others' images and designs creates potential problems, if you don't understand what is copyright infringement. If you have ever had someone pirate your work and start selling it, you know it can be a nightmare getting them to stop.

To start, one big area of misinformation seems to be around the differences between a copyright, a trademark and a patent. Copyright is what you register to protect your creative expression like written works, songs, craftwork, art and design. Trademark can refer to a symbol, word or phrase, or logo which is registered by the owner of a product and used to identify it in all communications. Basically, patents are filed to protect inventions.

One of the most detailed accounts describing what is the law of copyright is the article on Wikipedia: what is copyright law. It goes into the history of what is the copyright legislation from its beginnings through modern day, though that's not particularly useful if you're looking for how the current law defines and hopefully protects from infringement.

Studying cases of copyright infringement may be helpful to learn of similar situations if you feel your work is being pirated. Previous legal decisions tend to define what is infringement of copyright down the road in future litigation. The list of copyright cases at shows lawsuits file based on the United States copyright act., but also for copyright UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and other countries.

book on Copyright for Artists by Etsy attorneyParticularly useful to craft artists, Copyright for Artists is written by's attorney and legal counsel explains what is the law of copyright, how to copyright your designs, what is infringement of copyright or when is copyright infringed, and much more. It instructs on how to register your visual art (covers most craft artist media) with the U.S. Copyright Office and how to fill out the correct forms. Buy Now

Copyright for Artists provides step-by-step instructions for how to protect your copyright. You will also learn the differences among the various types of intellectual property protection like trade secrets, patents, and trademarks. I particularly found the frequently asked questions and answers helpful.

Copyright for Artists delivers answers to many questions around what is copyright law for craft makers and designers and clears up a lot of misconceptions. It's written by attorney, Sarah Feingold, herself a jewelry artist, in words any artisan can understand. As legal counsel for, she has exactly the experience in this area you need.

Here's what real craft artists wanting to know what is the law of copyright had to say about Sarah's ebook, Copyright for Artists:

"It should be required reading for all Etsy shops! It answered SO many of the questions that I had about the basics of copyrighting. I have been designing and selling my jewelry for many years now and have always been hesitant about setting up a website."
~ Alicia W.

"Helped me be sure I had covered all the bases with my copyright protection. Thanks so much for developing this ebook for Etsy sellers!"
~ Julie G.

"While, I've done some research, this e-book is, by far, the clearest and most concise information regarding copryright law specific to artists."
~ Cammie C.

"So well written. I've read it cover to cover. Sarah spells everything out in a very clear manner. I feel so much better about following through with applying for a copyright."
~ Dotty R.

"Sarah Feingold has transformed the thick legalize of copyright law into an easy to follow exposition tailored specifically to works created by artists."
~ Michael Neil J.

"I heard about your book through an ETSY forum and think every artist should read this! Your book broke down an intimidating topic and process into easy to work with parts."
~ Kevin C.

Buy Copyright for Artists Now

What is the Law of Copyright Video

Craft Business Video 15 of 20 in the Series answers the question what is the copyright legislation: "Can I sell crafts made from designs I get online or from magazines and books?" from "The 10 Most Asked Questions About Selling Crafts and the 10 Questions You Should Be Asking"


Video 16 answers the question you should be asking: "How can I protect my designs from piracy?" Video 16 of 20 in the Series:


Related article: 5 Things Every Craft Artist Must Know About Copyright to Avoid Lawsuits and Protect Your Designs

image of a Copyright LawIf you need more,check out self help information on what is copyright law and what is infringement for artists at (user friendly content.) You may also want to visit the government's site for more on how to copyright at (very legalese.)


End article: What is Copyright Law