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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was about to send a file to the screenprinter, when I realized I forgot to add a lil' © notice at the bottom of the design, like everybody does.

But now I got stuck...

do I put
© MyCompanyName, 2006
or
© MyName, 2006

I would preffer to put "© MyCompanyName, 2006" since it looks more proffesional, but I'm not sure if I have to do something legal before claiming a © as a company name instead of my real name...or if it has any legal repercussions like...if someone steals my design and I can't do anything about it cuz my design claimed it was copyrighted to "MyCompanyName" and not to MY real name... you get what I mean??

I guess the Cliff's Note version of this long question could be:
I just trademarked my company name, can I use it as my pseudonym or something for the © notice?
 

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I realized I forgot to add a lil' © notice at the bottom of the design, like everybody does.
Actually, not everyone puts a c notice at the bottom of their designs :)

Copyright happens at the time the work is created. Adding a circle c doesn't offer you any legal protection.

or if it has any legal repercussions like...if someone steals my design and I can't do anything about it cuz my design claimed it was copyrighted to "MyCompanyName" and not to MY real name
Generally speaking, you can't get any legal damages unless your copyright is officially registered with the copyright office. In that case, the copyright you put on your designs should match whatever you registered with the copyright office.

I just trademarked my company name, can I use it as my pseudonym or something for the © notice?
If you have your business officially registered and trademarked, then I don't see any problem with using your business name in the copyright notice.

It won't offer you any real legal protection, but it might help deter some people from taking the design. It can also help let others know where to get the design if they see someone else with it.
 

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I think stickng a © at the bottom of designs submitted to a reputable printer smacks of ameturishness to be honest, trying to look like a big guy.

It's like those people who took a Writer's Workshop correspondence course, and put © All Rights Reserved First National Publication, Jonny Smithe-Trelawney at the bottom of every page, as if their verbose novel "A Theif [sic] In The Night" was worth anything but for burning.

Sorry...just one of my pet peeves....no ©!
 

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Monkeylantern

I take your point re Tshirt designs, but there really is a reason that it is legally recommended for writers in Australia to put the © on their work next to their name, followed by the year, and underneath "All rights reserved". Same for music. Why? Because in Australia- unlike the States, say - there is not the same legal requirement to register original works with a copyright office;all that is required is to put that little © etc! In fact, in Australia, the mere act of creating an original work is all that is required for that work to be considered copyright for all legal purposes, but the © stuff is recommended simply as a means of clarification that the piece is original.
 

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monkeylantern said:
I think stickng a © at the bottom of designs submitted to a reputable printer smacks of ameturishness to be honest, trying to look like a big guy.
I do agree you could potentially offend your printer that way. Most probably wouldn't notice/care, but some may think you were questioning their professionalism.
 

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Ross B said:
Because in Australia- unlike the States, say - there is not the same legal requirement to register original works with a copyright office;all that is required is to put that little © etc! In fact, in Australia, the mere act of creating an original work is all that is required for that work to be considered copyright for all legal purposes
It's the same in the US (it wasn't for a long time, but I think that changed in around '88).

The difference isn't that we don't have to register it, so much as that we can't. Neither country requires it to be protected (just to be financially compensated). In the US the requirement to register before you can claim damages is a pain, but on the plus side you can register the work, making it easy to prove ownership.

Copyright coming into effect from the moment of creation (and without notification) is one of the things internationally agreed upon though, so it's the same in most of the world.
 

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3leches said:
I would preffer to put "© MyCompanyName, 2006" since it looks more proffesional, but I'm not sure if I have to do something legal before claiming a © as a company name instead of my real name...
I'm not sure either.

3leches said:
or if it has any legal repercussions like...
I'm pretty sure it does. Copyright law affects individuals and companies differently, so intellectual property owned by a company would be legally different to that owned by an individual. Or so I seem to recall reading. I understand that this is suitably vague (and therefore non-helpful) but I am mentioning it because I think it is something worth looking into further before you make a decision.
 

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I don't see how a printer would care at all about a circle C next to a design.

What do they care what the design contains? I hope they wouldn't take that part of their job so seriously. As a circle C on a design is no reflection of their work. The circle C would still be there if the person sent it to a different printer.

I don't think the original poster's question was about protecting themselves from the printer (they just wanted to make sure the artwork was right before they sent the final file to the printer). The question was more about the wording of the copyright notice and how it should read.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
monkeylantern said:
I think stickng a © at the bottom of designs submitted to a reputable printer smacks of ameturishness to be honest, trying to look like a big guy.
No, I dont mean this as a way to "protect myself against the printer!"
I mean it as a way to let EVERYBODY know that the design is © to..someone.

My question is, like Rodney said,
if your "studio" (which in reality s just you) is called "Monkey Designs"
and your real name is Mark Waters,
when you sell your shirts, it will look more proffesional if it says
"© Monkey Designs,2006"
instead of "© Mark Waters,2006"
cuz people sometimes assume that if it comes from a single person, its probably "cheap".

This also helps you build up a strong brand presence, since you are associating your company name with your designs.

Not to mention,in a whole other different circumstance,
if some people dont like what you sell, you dont want to give everybody your whole real name XD

I hope I am not misunderstood.
I just want to know if I can legally use my company name as my pseudonym, especially if I trademarked my company name :)
 

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Im totaly lost here folks, what are we talking about ?

the little (c) is just an alert... dont even think about it type thing. :)
if anything, date it and sign it, like on the old transfers. But heck, your design IS your signature, really.....:confused:
 

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Agreed, Lucy. It's hardly an issue of any real significance - or likely to be 98% of the time.

Re Solmu's statement regarding the situation in Australia: "The difference isn't that we don't have to register it, so much as that we can't."

No, this is not correct. The difference is that there is no legal imperative whatever in Oz to register copyright, whereas in the States there is - certainly in the case of screenplays, for example. For the sake of other Aussies watching on who may be interested in getting the facts, it is also incorrect that "we can't" [register copyright] in Aust. I am a member of APRA and AMCOS and have registered multiple musical works with both organisations. These bodies function as a means of writers registering works for copyright protection, and as the ONLY practically viable means by which writers of original music get their royalty payments. Further, I am a subscriber of the Australian Copyright Council newsletters, and I can affirm through these that there are other registers around in Australia for creative works in other areas of the arts. I would suggest that anyone who wants to be sure they are getting correct information on copyright issues check with the appropriate official body (free) or a legal specialist (expensive)
 

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You can also generally register books with the national library, etc.

My point was in Australia there is no central authority with legal standing as there is in the US. There is no "legal imperative" in either country. Registration is optional (though it has benefits). In the US you can do it if you want to, in Australia you can't. You can register some works with other independent groups, but that's not the same thing (it may be recommended or required for other reasons, such as royalty payments, but that's a separate issue).

There are also a lot more ways to register/lodge written works than visual, the latter being the one that's actually relevant on a t-shirt forum. The Australian Copyright Council actually recommends that artists consider registering their work with the US copyright office.

I doubt you'd get much help out of an official body, but an unofficial body like the Australian Copyright Council is certainly well worth consulting for anyone who needs clarification on Australian copyright law.
 

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Solmu said:
My point was in Australia there is no central authority with legal standing as there is in the US.
APRA is a "central authority with legal standing" in Australia, and so is AMCOS. Ask any muso.

I am not sure about the US (I am always careful to make sure of my facts before posting), but I doubt that there is a "central authority" that handles registration of copyright of everything - music, graphic art, all the written forms such as novels, poetry, bios, short fiction screenplays, not to mention original photography and everything else in between - it would surely be just too complicated and inefficient.

Solmu said:
There is no "legal imperative" in either country.
Incorrect. There IS a legal imperative to register screenplays in the US. I know that from personal experience. There may be other such instances, but not being a legal specialist in US copyright law, I would not presume to comment on things I am not certain of.

Solmu said:
Registration is optional (though it has benefits). In the US you can do it if you want to, in Australia you can't.
Yes, you can. See my previous post.

Solmu said:
You can register some works with other independent groups, but that's not the same thing (it may be recommended or required for other reasons, such as royalty payments, but that's a separate issue).
No, it's not a separate issue. The issue of copyright and royalty payments are inextricably linked. I do know first-hand what I am talking about here - I have pursued both issues personally and won my case.

Solmu said:
I doubt you'd get much help out of an official body, but an unofficial body like the Australian Copyright Council is certainly well worth consulting for anyone who needs clarification on Australian copyright law.
I think the Australian Copyright Council would be bemused to be referred to as an "unoffical body". This is clearly incorrect. They are a registered, not-for-profit organisation assisted by the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
 

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Ross B said:
I think the Australian Copyright Council would be bemused to be referred to as an "unoffical body". This is clearly incorrect.
They don't define legislature, and they don't offer legal advice (i.e. they suggest consulting a lawyer).

They're above board, legitimate, partially government funded, useful, etc., but they're not official.

"Official" is meaningless anyway... "official" what? They're an official non-profit organisation. They're officially a respected authority. They officially have nothing to do with legal proceedings in this country. It's all just semantics; but they're independent, and not government run (which is what I would have taken to be official in this context).
 

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Solmu,

The Australian Copyright Council has a strong legal component and they do give legal advice - I, for one, have sought and been given legal advice from them. I think it's important that other Australian members of the forum are aware that this is actually part of their service!

Think you need to work out what you mean by "official". I would have thought a part-Government-funded body that is recognised as the national authority on copyright and known as The Australian Copyright Council is about as official as it gets. The Government determines and passes legislation (new bills are introduced in the House of Reps and become law when passed by the Senate). It's irrelevant that bodies outside the Government don't "define legislature".
 

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Rodney said:
Let's keep to the topic of this thread, guys :)
Fair point, though I thought a couple of last points needed clarification. I've left most of this alone as I don't see the point in discussing it here (or anywhere else for that matter).

As for the topic of the thread itself... I think the collective knowledge of the forum has (for the moment) been exhausted on the topic - unless someone comes along with a more definitive answer.

The two questions were:

1) Do you need to do anything special to put (C) Company Name on a work?
2) Does this change the way the work is copyrighted (can you still protect it in a court of law as an individual for example)?


Several people have said it shouldn't make a difference. Personally my opinion is that it actually does.

For example. We all know that forming different types of companies (LLC vs. sole proprieter vs. etc.) gives you different legal rights, and different legal consequences (personal bankruptcy protection for example). We also (should) all know that you can't just register the business and do whatever you want. If you don't have a separate company and personal banking account for example, you can actually be found to be acting as a sole trader and have your personal bankruptcy protection revoked. You have to conduct yourself as a proper business in order to be treated by the government as such. What that means is, in general, you need to be treated as an employee (even if that's at Director/CEO level) of the company. Which means if you're assigning copyright to the company, it should be either already covered as work for hire, or to do it above board you would need to sign over the copyright to the company. You and the company are not the same thing, so it can't be assumed that what is copyrighted to one is copyrighted to the other. (also, if the company goes bankrupt something copyrighted in your name would be a personal asset, and something copyrighted to the company would be a business asset... but if that personal asset should have been a company asset... well we're back to that naughty naughty mixing then aren't we?)

Now, this isn't going to affect most people because they're not running as a corporation. My point is it proves that there are potentially consequences for how you assign your copyright - and given that, I would be careful about what you do with it in case there are others you aren't aware of.

I've also read in the past of the length of time a copyright lasts being different for a corporation vs. an individual. It (conjecture) might make a difference in a court case over damages.

The one thing I wouldn't worry about is whether or not this removes your ability to protect the work in court. Either the (C) Company Name is found to have no basis, so you can still protect it as the individual who owns the copyright, or it is found to have a basis and your company can protect it as the company who owns the copyright. The copyright won't dissolve into the aether.

I understand that these points are vague and not particularly backed up. I'm not trying to claim what someone should or shouldn't do - my point is that if it was me in this situation (and that's all you can really ask a forum member to talk of) I would be doing further research (quite possibly talking to a lawyer) because my opinion is that this situation is actually a lot more complicated than people give it credit.

To put it simply, you are not your business and your business is not you - be careful about treating either as if it was simply the other.
 
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