Uh Oh, Here Comes Trouble!

02 May

“Now that so many projects are digital there is a smorgasbord of ways to borrow, sample, copy, alter, and out-and-out steal creative work.  It is also harder to stay within the law, even when your intentions are honorable.” – Cynthia Baron

Talk about paranoia!  After reading Chapter twelve, Copyright and Portfolio, in Cynthia Baron’s Designing a Digital Portfolio that is exactly what I became. Paranoid.  The majority of my work I created entirely myself, but occasionally I have used stock images or videos, and in terms of music I almost always use songs from relatively well known artists.  In my portfolio I made sure to site every element that I used that was not my own original work, but I am still nervous that this is not enough.  This chapter also stated that “interpretation is key” meaning that the designer’s intent behind using the material has a lot to do with whether or not the designer will get in trouble for using a piece that is not theirs within their work.  The majority of the projects that I am using within my site to demonstrate my work are independent projects that were made for classes and not for profit.  That means that I am not using their work to make myself money.  However, does having these projects on my portfolio site, which I am mostly using to try and get myself a full-time design job, mean that I am using these projects to help myself make money?

Picture 1

Caption for one of my projects shown on my portfolio site

There is a lot about copyright laws that I do not fully understand, or even remotely understand, but I am hoping that I have done everything right in order to display my work while still respecting the pieces of work that I used from others.  One of the concepts that I am a little confused on is the idea of Derivative Art.  In one of my pieces that was created for a course and never used for profit I created a tribute to the designer Tibor Kalman.  Derivative Art says that only the copyrighted owner can copy, alter, or duplicate pieces.  In the tribute I altered Tibor Kalman’s print and product designs to bring them to life within a motion graphic piece.  It was obvious throughout the whole piece that I was working off of his work, but after reading this chapter  I am not sure if that is enough.  And then the fact that the designer is no longer alive confuses me about who exactly has the rights to his work.  I believe this rights move over to his wife, but I am not sure if all the of copyright laws remain the same between the original designer and the secondary person.


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