Dear Arrighi Column on Copyright

Dear Readers,

I have been given some basic information about copyright laws pertaining to Calligraphers that I’ll pass along to you.

First, look for the copyright notice, (near the work or at the beginning of a book, or in the acknowledgments at the end). If there is none, it is free to copy.

What is the age of the work? Copyrights are good for the life of the author plus 50 years but can be inherited and renewed. If there’s any question call or write to the publisher. If a company owns the copyright, it is good for 75 years.

Many times the entire compilation of poetry or work is copyrighted individual poems in the book are okay to use. You just can’t reproduce the book in its entirety. In this case, they have acknowledgments at the back of the book which pertains to each individual poem. You should be really careful with copyrighted material especially if you are having it reproduced (for profit or not). Keep in mind, that these same copyright laws are there to protect the usage of our own work, so be considerate of others’ rights.

If you are going to do a one-off original piece of art, you are probably okay and don’t need permission. But if you do a number of pieces by the same author and exhibit our work extensively, it would be a good idea to get permission from the author/copyright holder. Again, remember the Golden Rule!

When something is copyrighted, write to the publisher and get permission and sometimes pay a fee. They will usually send some guidelines for use of the material and sometimes ask for copies to be sent to them.

For copyright information and/or forms, call the following numbers in Washington, D.C.:

Copyright Hotline – 202-707-9100 (24 hours)
Copyright Office – 202-479-0700

To order copyright forms to register your own material, call the Hotline and ask for Visual Art – Graphics. They will send a form that you may copy and use every time you need one. Fill them out and send certified mail with a return receipt and $20.00. Your copyright return receipt will be valid from the date they receive it. They will stamp it with that date, although you may not receive the receipt or notice for some weeks.