To consider as commissioner or purchaser:

The law governing copyright is simple: Ask first!

The copyright law gives the creator of the image legal protection for his or her work. Just as, for example, the patent protects the inventor’s construction, copyright protects the reproduction of an image. To show respect for an original work is self-evident for all serious commissioners or purchasers. However, a rule of thumb is to always ask first about the conditions of copyright.

The law governing copyright applies to both analogue and digital use. Always to ask first also applies when an image is to be used on Internet.

1. What is the image and the original?
The “image” refers to different types of images such as drawings, illustrations or collages. The “original” refers to the image delivered by the person who created it.

2. What am I buying?
When you commission an image, you buy only the right to use it in a particular context. All other uses – copyrights – belong to its creator.

3. Who owns the image?
The creator of the image always owns it. In order for you as commissioner or purchaser to keep the image requires a special agreement with its creator.

4. How may the image be used?
An image can only be used in the context agreed to by its creator: for example, a certain type of printed matter, with a given number of copies and circulation, or the publishing of an Internet homepage for a given period of time. Before making any changes after the agreement or contract has been drawn up, the creator/originator must always be contacted.

5. Conditions when the image is to be re-used?
When an image is to be re-used, the creator/originator of the image must be contacted. Re-use can involve new remuneration.

6. May the image be altered or changed?
No alterations or changes in the image may be made without the agreement of its creator/originator. This applies to trimming or cropping, re-touching, digital manipulation or other methods. However, even though a custom exists allowing for trimming or cropping the image, this assumes that its content will not be distorted and that the creator/originator of the image is informed in advance.

7. Do you need the name to the copyright holder in conjunction with publishing?
In editorial and information contexts, the name of the illustrator/graphic designer must be published. In advertising contexts, the name should be published.

8. How long is the image protected by copyright?
Sole copyright, ie sole right to make decisions regarding the image, is in effect 70 years after the death of the creator. In order to be considered as an illustration or graphic work, the image must possess a certain individuality, originality and special character. This means that two people, independent of each other, shall not be able to produce the same image.

9. May I make new examples or copies?
No new examples of the image may be produced without the consent of its originator, regardless of whether they are for a newspaper, other printed matter, as copies, or for the Internet/Intranet or similar computerized contexts.

10. May the image be digitalized?
To transfer an image to a digital system is the same as producing a new exmaple of it. The same applies when transferring an image from a digital system to another or printing the image. The originator/creator must always first give his or her consent.

Digital storage of images is part of the printing process. The originator/creator of the image must give his or her consent not only to the printing of an image but also to necessary technical storage. The stored image must not be used in any other context and must be removed after it has been produced.

Source: Illustratorcentrum