The Ink Lounge Image Usage Rights Policy is based on 30+ years of graphic design experience. I've provided links to articles that have assisted me in shaping my policy. Please don’t hesitate to inquire on a specific project as I do understand there are some grey areas and people do have various interpretations when creating art.
You are not allowed to take another artists image (photo, illustration, design, painting, etc.) and make a screen print from it unless you have the permission from the original artist or have purchased a license to cover intended use. Examples include logos from your favorite sports teams, illustrations you find on Etsy, photos from the Internet, etc. I prefer to start people out with a good understanding of image usage and hope you don’t feel discouraged by all the legal stuff below.
Please Note: you may be asked to provide documentation to confirm usage rights.
Might Be Acceptable
This is the practice of taking a comic book character, movie star, musician, etc. and creating something new - but the viewer would still recognize the person/character. The legality of it comes down to a few things including “distribution” and “transformation.”
I do understand there are many companies that do allow people to create and sell fan art, so I am are lenient with this practice (plus I understand as it’s fun!). So my policy is that if you create something unique that is considered transformative, and you are printing no more than 50 prints–I will allow you to print fan art.
Please note that for those of you working digitally, merely live tracing or converting an image to a halftone is not considered transformative. My best advice-sharpen your pencil and get to work.
Depends on the End Use
This is the practice of taking another persons image and altering it, and the new artist considers it something new, therefore incorrectly assuming they are within their rights to use and sell. Many people are incorrectly taught that if you change an image 3 times or alter it 30%, then this is acceptable. Please be aware that using someone else’s image is not acceptable under copyright law and you need permission from the original artist to use it in your own artwork if it is going to be sold. Please note that there are websites that do provide copyright free images (purchase may be necessary) or images that are in the public domain which are both fine to use. Please be sure to check the fine print when purchasing stock images or using public domain images as they may have restrictions on resale.
An unofficial gig poster is often created to be sold outside the music venue in parking lots. This is a common practice and enforced at various levels depending on the venue and the band. Some bands don’t care and view it as fan art as long as the artist is not infringing or using their visual brand.
For Example: using the full band name, logo, images, etc. on the poster would infringe on copyright law.
I disagree with these types of posters as designers and Illustrators have put in time creating relationships with bands and/or the venues. So for someone to profit in the parking lot–devalues their hard work and talent.
I also do not want to be in the business of knowing which venues and bands allow and which do not. So my policy is to not allow any unofficial posters to be printed at the studio, commercially or during open studio, unless you can provide written permission from the band.
Proof is required, no exceptions.
Ink Lounge values creativity and understands that we are all inspired by a great many things and will continue to encourage everyone to express their creativity. But at the same time I do need to uphold rights for all artists. I realize this may conflict with some folks' interpretations of copyright law, and although I am always up for a conversation, I ultimately have the right to create and enforce this policy in my studio. I do not wish to be difficult on this–but I do feel it is my obligation as a graphic designer, screen printer, and instructor–to educate people in best practices and uphold what I believe to be fair for all.
Chewbotta: here's an example of a fan art. I drew and screen printed Chewbacca as a robot. It's a new unique illustration, I only printed 30, the title is Chewbotta, and I do not reference Star Wars any place it's sold.
I'm not a resource for any projects that have a blatant message of hate towards other groups, even if we agree they are Quacks.