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Animation: Copyright & You — Defining Copyright Ownership

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. Did you know that when you sell your original art, you’re not selling your copyright? Just as an author does not lose the rights to his story when he sells his books, neither do painters to lose the rights to their creative expression when they sell their original paintings.

When a person buys original art, they become a curator at that piece, but they do not have the right to license the art. Only you as the creator have the right to license your art even after the original art has found a new home. You have the right to license and profit from your creative expression in anyway you see fit. The only legal way others obtain permission to license your work is in writing.

Providing provenance to your work is a great way to inform buyers of their role as custodian. It can confirm their obligation to keep the work safe from harm, and for you to have reasonable access to the original to make reproductions.

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

© Mark Monlux. Used with permission.

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