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Copyright: Five Facts Every Scrapbooker Needs To Know!

Here are five basic things that EVERY scrapbooker should know about copyright:

#1--When you create an original scrapbook layout, card or other project (not from a sketch, scrap lift or idea book) you AUTOMATICALLY own the copyright. No, you don't have to add a copyright notice. No, you don't have to register your layout design with the government. Tip: Adding a copyright notice or watermark image to your original designs is a good idea if you plan to share them online. It helps to remind everyone that your artwork is yours.

#2--In order for a work to be protected it must be original and created by the designer or artist. The work can be similar to existing works but not an exact copy. Chances are if you see a project in an online gallery, in an idea book or hanging in the store, that project has copyright protection. Tip: It is always better to assume that the project is protected and ask for permission to use the design than to assume it is just okay to use it.

#3--Since you own the copyright, only YOU can reproduce, distribute and adapt the design. Did you know that copying an image from the internet to your computer is considered "reproducing" the design and is violation of copyright protection laws? No, just because the image is posted on the internet doesn't mean it is "fair use". Tip: If you really want a copy of another person's layout or project, just email and ask them...don't assume it is okay because it is the same thing as stealing!

#4-- Scrap lifting is a term used to describe seeing ideas online, in idea books or at stores and making projects based on those ideas. The resulting layout can look a lot like the original or may end up being just loosely based on the original. This is not violating any copyright laws. Tip: These projects are in the stores, magazines, and galleries to give youinspiration for your own personal scrapbooking, but not to sell or profitfrom in any way.

#5--Some of the ways that scrapbookers and scrapbooking companies violate copyright protection laws (knowingly or unknowingly) are:

Making copies of patterns for friends to use.
Right-clicking or saving images from galleries to their computers.
Scanning printed design fabrics to print and use on layouts.
Using another's words on their projects or in articles they write.
Using a protected font to create alphabet letters, stamps or other items to share and/or sell.

Remember to think about copyright laws the next time you are ready to create a new project, layout or article. Keep in mind that violating another person's rights is not only illegal but also unethical. Always remember the Golden Rule?Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

Helpful links:
This link provides easy-to-understand copyright information for knitters, but also applies to other crafts, including scrapbooking.
This link is the be-all, end-all of copyright information! Be sure to read the question and answer sections! gives some great, helpful advice for copyright protection and some other links.

Copyright 2004 Antuanette Wheeler
A note for store owners, list owners, website owners or others: You may use this article on your website, store newsletter or any other media as long as you allow the article to be printed or show in its entirety and include any links that are within the article. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or ideas, feel free to contact me at Thanks!

Miss Toni Gifts started out as a small pin sales site and blossomed over the last few years into a pin/bookmark combo design business.

We are three women who have known each other forever. We have all been involved in scouting, scrapbooking and general arts and crafts for a LONG time. This is really a family affair because Glenda is the Mom, Toni is the daughter, and Missy is a friend for over 20 years!


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