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Animation: Copyright & You — Having vs Registering

Animation by Mark Monlux

The following animation was created by Guild member Mark Monlux in collaboration with the Tacoma Artists Intitiative Program. The cartoon uses Monlux’s whiteboard animation technique, which he employs for organizational and corporate clients (in addition to his advertising and editorial illustration, and sketchnoting). Monlux served many years on the Guild’s Executive Committee, and is recognized for his knowledge of coyright law and good trade practices for illustrators.


Your creative expression can take on many forms:  writing, music, dance, culture, or visual art. Copyright protects your creative expression, but there’s a difference between having copyright and registering your copyright. Since it can significantly affect how well your artistic rights are protected you should know about it. You have copyright the moment you physically create a record of your expression, but you need to register your copyright with the government before infringement to fully protect your work.

The registered copyright is your ticket into the courtroom. It means you can claim legal fees, which the court will reward for favorable judgment, and that the risk of paying for your lawyers well theirs can aid in early settlement. It also means that you can be awarded statutory damages for willful infringement. Without a filed copyright, you don’t qualify for any that, so remember to protect yourself and your creative endeavors. Registered your copyrights early and often. You can do it online at

Created for the Tacoma Artists Initiative Program
Mark Monlux: Cartoon and video
Adam J. Manley: Narration
Joe Izenman: Music

© Mark Monlux. Used with permission.