Images

Copyright also applies to the use of images, photographs, and artwork. Databases such as ArtStor provide access to licensed images for educational purposes without violating copyright. Other options for fair use, such as the Creative Commons license, are discussed in links below.

FAQs

Can visual arts objects be copyrighted?

According to the Library of Congress, copyright is automatically secured upon creation of any tangible work, including digital or virtual materials. Registration of the work at the Library of Congress is not necessary, although there are advantages to registration (see the United States Copyright Office for more information).

Circular 40 provides instructions on how to register a work of art at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Can virtual art be copyrighted?

Circular 40 lists the art forms protected by copyright, which include "holograms, computer and laser artwork."

For creators of virtual art who wish to make their work available for mashups, re-mixing, sharing, and modifying, the Creative Commons license provides several levels of copyright from which to choose. Each of these requires that users of the work credit the creator as specified.

For more information