Is there a way to protect art without a copyright?

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Is there a way to protect art without a copyright?

I can’t afford to copyright my art; the cost to do so is more than I would make selling a piece of art. Is there any way to protect my rights to my art without copyrighting, so others can’t steal, sell, and discredit my work?

Asked on August 7, 2010 under Business Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Fortunately for you, copyright is free. Copyright inures in the act of creating an original work of art--by creating it, you gain copyright. It is prudent to put a copyright notice on the piece (though this could be on the back), but you don't need to spend anything to own copyright. Registering copyright with the government gives you the right to collect larger or additional damages if your copyright is infringed--it can also make it easier to show a violation--but is not strictly required.

Also, it may not be a bad idea to keep any evidence that you created the art--e.g. if you work on a computer, prior drafts--since if someone should ever try to claim it's their work, not yours, evidence would be helpful.


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