Copyright Laws, Fair Use, and Legal Printing

From international corporations to law firms to mom-and-pop shops, every business will consider some form of marketing at one point or another. Whether that marketing is based solely online or consists of paper and pamphlets is up to the business. What they include in that marketing, however, is restricted due to copyright laws.

Whenever an artist paints a picture, a musician creates a score, an author pens a book or article, and so on, the federal Copyright Act of 1976 most likely slaps a quick copyright protection on it. Once that little ® symbol is on something, whether it is notarized or not, no one is supposed to use, distribute, or recreate it for any sort of profit or advantage. This can be pretty disadvantageous to a business looking to create, copy, or use popular or helpful premade materials for marketing or other projects.

Fair Use

Making an impenetrable copyright over everything the moment it was created or even conceived would be unreasonable. For example, a copyrighted article could be redistributed or duplicated if it was to inform, educate, or report the condition of it to others.

If you aren’t sure if something can be copied, ask yourself these five questions:

  • What do I intend to do with the material once it is copied?
  • What is the intent of the original piece?
  • How much of the original piece do I need to copy or use?
  • How many copies do I need to make?
  • Does copying this material detract from its original value in any way?

Asking these questions before copying documentation or a file should serve as a quick moral and legal check. If you don’t feel good about making the copy, it probably isn’t the right move.

For companies that deal with sensitive information and confidential documentation, though, it is best not to guess. If you copy something illegitimately and violate copyright laws, you and your business could be in legal trouble and stand to pay hefty fines if penalized. You need to be certain that you are within your legal right to copy, use, or distribute materials when so much could be on the line.

Copyright Law for Images

Copyright laws help protect the rights of the creator or artist. When speaking about photography, copyright protects the image from unlawfully being copied.

Important things to know about copyright:

  • Purchasing the print of an image is different than purchasing the copy. This is especially prevalent in photography and art. Many artists will sell prints of an image, even though the copy and artistry of the image still belong to the artist. If you buy a print, you do not have the right to make copies of that print and sell them.
  • Photographs are protected by copyright from the moment that they are created. This right is protected under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976. A photographer can easily create over 2,000 pieces of intellectual property each year.
  • Even a small infringement can have devastating effects. Many people think that copyright is only violated when the violator attempts to sell the image unlawfully. However, simply copying an image is an infraction, even if you were only doing it for personal use. Copying an image can result in civil and criminal penalties.

Professional Printing Solutions

At Acro Photo Print Inc., our New York City legal printing specialists routinely handle enormous printing jobs for law firms, corporations, and agencies that manage copyrighted materials. When you come to us – or we come to you since we offer pick-up and delivery services – we can help determine if what you are trying to duplicate or print is protected by a strict copyright, trademark, or patent. With 40+ years of printing service experience, we have the knowledge and know-how to take care of your project with ease and confidence.

Our New York City printing services company is fully aware of copyright laws concerning imagery and photographs. To learn more, contact us today and speak with a member of our team.