The Importance Of Copyrights For Creatives

In today’s fast paced world, most creative work is publicised on social media sites. Platforms like Instagram have created a broad range of communities for anyone who wishes to post through their app, particularly the creatives. Poets, musicians and artists use this opportunity to put their work out there – to get noticed without having to go through bigger publishing agencies. This however, comes with its own set of complications. It is very easy to copy or get heavily influenced by somebody else’s work when it is open to an interconnected, public sphere. People can stumble upon artwork made across the globe, and then slightly tweak it to make it their own; and eventually take complete credit for it. A lot of times, things like these unfortunately go unnoticed. However, other times, creations get snatched quite blatantly. It is very important to understand your rights as a creator. Hard work goes into almost anything you produce, so you should have full ownership over what you create. This can get shattered when your rights get violated. Here’s why copyrights are very important:

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As an update on @shopvida illegally selling my work on Amazon, I wrote to Amazon and Vida (and put it in social media)- my products are now off the website. After I went public, many artists have written to me saying they had similar experiences, so Vida's exploitation is rampant. I'm going to consult lawyers about next steps in general because this happens to me pretty often. In Vida's case, their business model of taking artwork from artist's for free and promising a (v low) commission on products sold is a problematic one. Vida says it's a social enterprise and empowers its workers, it also now says its zero waste. Companies use these buzzwords often without any third party verification. I have no idea whether Vida's slick marketing videos are true. What is definitely true is that the management lives in the US, the factories are in the global south with low manufacturing costs and cheap labour, the artists work for free, and the big profits are taken by the company. After this last year of dealing with them, my final thoughts are- first: artists should never work in these conditions, regardless of how reputable things look or the supposed people helped. Second, if you are startup, discard this model- there are better ways of both crowdsourcing and being ethical. Third, if you are the founder of @shopvida, change how you operate. . . #Repost @propergaanda • • • • • The company, @shopvida kept on selling her designs even after she took them off of their website. Link in bio 🔗🔗🔗 #shehzil #art #propergaanda . #VIDAxShehzilMalik #vida

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What Is A Copyright?

“The exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material”. In other words, it protects and allows for full ownership of your original work.

When Can You Get Something Copyrighted?

You can obtain rights to your work the moment it is on a tangible medium, whether it is a digital design on adobe, or a full fledged design on paper.

What Is The Line Between Plagiarism And Influence?

Any work that is exactly the same as something that has been copyrighted, is plagiarism. Drawing inspiration and reproducing something is slightly trickier. However, if it is reproduced in a way where there is a clear difference, it can be considered as an influence or adaptation of the original work. It is very important to communicate with the original creator and give them credit to avoid any complications and violations.

How Does One Obtain A Copyright?

You have to register! Create accounts on systems like the eCO Online System. There may be a fee, but it is definitely worth it.

Why Is it Important To Have A Copyright?

Your work is a very important asset, and it is important for you to value it under any cost. You need to protect your rights so that in the case of any violation or infringement, you are compensated for any loss that may have occurred.

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I have my work stolen all the time, I have learnt to deal with it. But @shopvida (who asked me to collaborate with them themselves) has exhausted the limits of my patience and I share this for all other artists thinking of working with them. In a nutshell- Don't. Here are my list of grievances: 1. Vida takes artwork from artists, free of cost, and makes products from them. The artist has no control over the product prices. I found the prices to be too high, not affordable for most Pakistanis. The % commission the artist gets per product is tiny. 2. They use PayPal to pay artists. I told them, there is no PayPal in Pakistan. Eventually I only got paid because I happened to travel to America months later and made a PayPal account. I never got paid after that first time. 3. Artists have to buy their own products, with a small discount. I ended up paying a big amount to Vida for my own merchandise! It took them over 6 months to deliver my products to me. (!!!) 4. When I'd had enough, I took my collection off their website. Now I find Vida selling my products on Amazon! This was not told to me, this was not in any contract. I have no idea how many products they've sold on their website and Amazon, I have been paid NO MONEY. This is an exploitation of artists, a flawed business model, an unethical company. After I threatened them in my email, their representative wrote back within minutes saying it was a mistake, they're a startup, they work with 150k artists and snags happen. If that's true, then it's both an exploitative and incompetent company. 150k artists is no joke. This company is profiting off the free labour of thousands of artists. DO NOT GIVE YOUR ART FOR FREE TO VIDA and other companies that use this horrible business model. The worst part is that the company is founded by a Pakistani woman, Umaimah Mendhro, and claims to be socially responsible- which is why I signed on in the first place. Feeling so sad and angry. . @shopvida #VIDA #VIDAXSHEHZILMALIK

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Your work is very valuable, and you should not take it lightly. Many creatives find themselves in positions where their work gets plagiarised and profited of off and they are given no credit. It is very important to know where you stand on the legal system, and be very cautious – you never know who might be stealing your sunshine.

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