At a time when the copyright public policy debate tends to focus exclusively on enforcement, we believe that it is time for a discussion in the European institutions on how to ensure that copyright fully supports innovation, creativity, competition, and the public interest. Now is the time for a constructive policy agenda to ensure copyright meets the needs of the 21st century.

2015 Manifesto   Declaration

According to Article 20 of the Copyright Law, one becomes the owner of one’s works (of whatever kind) the moment they are created and acquires the right to their economic exploitation with the possibility of prohibiting – or assigning – their modification and/or exploitation to third parties. And the patrimonial right is valid (in almost all cases) until the 70th year after the death of the creator.

But what can you do to stem the risk of plagiarism and protect the creative fruit of your work?

Create time certification of authorship

There are numerous techniques for protecting the copyright of artistic works through acts that certify their antecedence to plagiarism in court, i.e. that are able to prove that no one else can claim the same right for a creative process that occurred earlier:

  • registration with the SIAE
  • registration with a notary (physical or online), who will draw up a report (i.e. a public deed)
  • filing with the National Archive of Editorial Production
  • sending the work to oneself by registered mail with return receipt, but beware that the law attributes value as proof to the postmark only when the envelope forms a single body with the work sent (therefore the sheet with the work must be folded and the address must be written on it and the stamp affixed)
  • forms of publication that clearly document the date of the public performance (magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, even online publications registered as newspapers)
  • performance in public (at a festival, a concert, a competition, etc.), but this must be proven with a recording that is somehow date-stamped and/or witnessed
  • registration with services such as Creativitysafe or Patamu, which use a blockchain system to create a unique mark with a certificate guaranteed by the platform’s legal team at a very affordable price.

Use Creative Commons licences

There are also Creative Commons licences, which offer six different copyright arrangements for artists, journalists, teachers, institutions and, in general, creators who wish to share the copyright of their works broadly according to the ‘some rights reserved’ model. The rights holder may not authorise a priori predominantly commercial uses of the work (Non-commercial option, acronym: NC) or the creation of derivative works (Non-derivative works, acronym: ND); and if derivative works are possible, he may impose an obligation to release them under the same licence as the original work (Share-Alike, acronym: SA). The combinations of these choices generate the six CC licences.

Publish images in low resolution

Unless you are able to insert a hidden watermark, the solution of putting the name on an image will compromise its usability, so before uploading photos online (to the blog, facebook, instagram or wherever you prefer) take care to reduce the size to 72dpi, ideal for screen viewing, but bad for large print. Even some sites that allow high-resolution uploads such as Flickr provide automatic resizing for web distribution.

Report plagiarism

Recourse to a lawyer is an expensive solution to be considered only as a last resort when the financial damage is considerable. In general, social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram allow you to report photos if they do not comply with copyright law, and there are numerous groups of graphic designers or creatives on social networking sites where you can submit your case (and the person responsible for the plagiarism may even be among those registered). In addition, Google also has a special form for the removal of copyright infringing content. So, if the plagiarist turns a deaf ear, a good start is to have the image that harms you removed from the network.

Use legal or free software

This might seem like an obvious piece of advice, but recently the increase in controls on pirated licences has brought many professionals and even important institutions to their knees. In court, you may be required to prove how you made an image or paper and from a processing file (such as a .psd) you can trace the version of the programme you used. In the case of illegal software, you may not be recognised as having a legitimate right to that document, particularly if there are no printed and time-certified versions of your work, since with a product made with an unregistered programme, the processing files are worthless.

P. S. important

For authors of boxed games (to which we have devoted several articles in the past), copyright law unfortunately does not currently provide for protection of mechanics, whereas it does on graphics or the text of the rules. We will devote an in-depth study to this topic in the future.

“Humanity’s capacity to generate new ideas and knowledge is its greatest asset. It is the source of art, science, innovation and economic development.”

Adelphi Charter

Copyright for Creativity

Europe requires a balanced, flexible and harmonised system of exceptions that is in step with the 21st Century knowledge economy.