Copyright & Trademark Basics for Artists - feat. Andrea Sager


We're bringing in small biz attorney Andrea Sager to answer those burning questions about copyrights, trademarks and what the heck you need to do to protect yourself and your artwork. This episode is chock-full of insight on the legal side of running a creative biz and tackles sticky situations like infringement, brand names, artwork ownership, cease and desist letters and so much more. BONUS: get access to Andrea's Small Biz Contract Vault with FREE contracts at the link below!

What is the difference between trademarks and copyrights?
The simple answer: trademarks protect branding; copyrights protect creative works. This gets mixed up all the time, so make sure you are filling out the correct application if you are applying for either a trademark or a copyright.

You can file for a copyright application here (and Andrea recommends doing it as a “collection” to save $$), and you can file for a trademark application for your brand and logo here. Copyrights are $55, and the trademark is $225.

What if I don’t register for a copyright?
Even without an officially registered copyright, you still own your artwork and have options for legal protections. You can hear Andrea’s tips in the episode!

What can be copyrighted?
This gets a littttle tricky, but here’s the gist: the item must have some sort of original creativity and be a finished product. Ideas and concepts are not viable for copyrighting.

The Copyright Office specifically states that fonts, short phrases, and shapes are not eligible for Copyright protection. Keep in mind, though, these elements can be included in your creative work and still be eligible for copyright protection. - Andrea Sager

Elisabeth Young