Copyright basics for artists, Google image result problems with Pinterest, how it effects content creators, Digital Download Clip Art TOU.

What is copyright?

The basic idea of copyright: Artists are protected under copyright law, which helps content creators protect their work from theft. It can have some pretty hefty legal fines or jail time as punishment if you are taken to court for a violation. As a creator, you do not need to file something legally in order to be protected by copyright law. In the USA, and much of the world, as soon as you create an art work, a song, a piece of writing, an invention or other creation - it is yours, just like property. If you show it to other people, or play the song for another person, it doesn't suddenly become their property to do what they want with.

A great way to understand copyright basics is music. If a singer performs a song and sells you a recording, you can't claim to be that singer or reproduce the recording to sell or share. (We've all seen those warnings right? It's illegal to burn copies of cds/dvds). It's the same with art work, you should not sell or redistribute images from an artist without their permission.


What is a DMA take down notice? In addition to the law being on the creator's side in a court of law, many website hosting companies do not wish to be in violation of anyones copyright. That means websites that are hosted through companies like Yahoo, Shopify, Squarespace etc., or social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram etc., can all be contacted by the copyright owner to have the content in question forcibly removed. For example, you post a stolen artwork in an instagram post, I can contact instagram and have them remove it from your account. Some sites, like YouTube, can be very severe and completely shut down a channel over copyright claims.


Pinterest - a prime example of commonly accepted theft. Often, people are of the opinion that if you "didn't want something stolen, you shouldn't put it online". What a sad place the world would be if we didn't share things that belong to us. Sharing doesn't mean that suddenly you lose all rights to the thing shared. I personally have mixed feelings about Pinterest, because they have gotten too popular to ignore and not play along with in hopes of catching trend traffic. Sadly, Pinterest is completely dependent upon image theft, taking control of content away from the creator.

Often "pins" are removed from their site due to copyright claims from the owner. While many people approve of Pinterest and choose to allow people to repost their content elsewhere, it is a huge problem for many artists. Often the traffic that a pin gets never actually trickles it's way back to the content creator. Sadly, even google search results have started favoring the reposted content on pinterest instead of the content creators website. For example, you may find one of my watercolor paintings in google image search, and the link goes to a copy of the image on a pinterest page instead of my website. I never see any traffic, you don't see any of my other art or goods, and I have no idea that anyone ever cared to look at my painting.

This has lead to a great deal of traffic and money loss for individual artists. At this point you still get *some* exposure by posting your content there (IF someone has a pinterest account and isn't blocked by a log-in screen walling off your content, then IF someone decides to click your image to go to another website AND that the link is still active AND doesn't just go to the image and not a web page). Pinterest is a huge company that has been rewarded for letting other people collect content from creator's websites. If that weren't hard enough to deal with, it's typically fans of the creator - who don't mean them any harm - who are taking the hard work of the artist and reposting (pinning) it onto their own collection boards on Pinterest. I certainly don't want to be upset with people who are just appreciating my work and sharing it with friends, so I just deal with the consequences. Just be aware that when you make a pin, every effort should be made to link back to the web page and not directly to the image (ie not so there's at least a small chance the traffic will come back to the creator. Overall it's a big can of worms!


Q. Can I repost images I find on your website elsewhere online/social media/put it on my blog or website?

A. Yes, I'm happy to allow non-profit reposts of my work, as long as all copyright text/website link written on the image remains intact, and you provide a note crediting the image creator (preferably as "" in the description with the image). It is totally fine with me to find my art on other sites, as long as people can find their way back to me if they want to. (This does not include large size art scan download files without copyright text, as that is a purchase-only product not displayed on my website.)



What you may create with my artwork is based on the purchase type such as personal (non-profit) or commercial (for profit). These options are in each digital file download sale listing.

General terms of use (image usage licensing info) as stated in each digital download listing: 

An email is automatically sent with a download link after purchase. Just in case of error with the automatic system, I also manually email a copy of your file(s) within 1-3 days of your purchase. The size format is approx. 2.5"x3.5" (artist trading card size) @600 dpi or up to 20"x30" @72dpi. Watermarks (any copyright text over the image) will not appear on your image.


When buying a personal image usage license you can feel free to create non-profit items (such as prints for yourself and friends, use as a digi-stamp for card making, scrapbooks, practice painting, adult coloring books, wedding invitations and other items not for sale).


I also offer a commercial use option allowing that artwork, stock photography or clipart to be used in items for sale (such as t-shirts, bookmarks, calendars, jewelry making and promotional items for your store, restaurant, menu or website design). I remain the copyright owner. Do not display the full size image online. I do not allow transfer of the usage license to another person.


Image size typically varies between 500kb for black and white to 5mb for color images. I send multiple emails if your purchases exceed 20mb total (due to the standard limit for email attachments at 25mb). This is not a physical product, because nothing will be shipped, there are no shipping fees. All sales are final after files are sent.


If you do not receive your email, please check your spam folder and verify the email address you provided during checkout. Send me a message if you need to change the email address for file delivery. If you have an email account set to block senders you do not know, please allow my email address:


Additional guidelines:

I remain the copyright owner for all of my artwork, your purchase grants a usage license of that file's art. What this means for 3rd party sharing:

I allow you to legally create items with my art, but not to transfer that right to another person. I do not allow you to claim the image as your own design. Do not sell it to other people for them to make their own products with (ie. do not also sell a digital file/duplicate my products for sale). Do not share the art download image with 3rd parties (including displaying it online or emailing it to friends).

Manufacturing and retail exceptions: With a commercial purchase you can feel free to design a product (such as a t-shirt) that a 3rd party requires the image to produce it for you. If the 3rd party also wishes to sell the item themselves (instead of or in addition to producing the item for you) they would need their own license. You can make a product for a client or third party to sell (such as a necklace you made sells through a local boutique via a wholesale to retail arrangement). As long as the person/business who buys the license creates the product, the product can be sold at a small wholesale price to a 3rd party who then sells it at a higher retail price. The retailer would not be able to replicate the item without ordering it through you, the wholesaler.


I am extremely lenient about using my artwork, and simply ask that if you want to use my work, that you pay me a fair wage for creating the content. If you will sell a product using my art, there are two commercial options based on the scale of your sales. I try to be very fair to those who are small business individuals like myself, just trying to make a living - and the cost of purchasing my art for small scale sales is different than those making bulk manufactured goods. (I know there's a difference between my grandma making knitted sweaters to sell on Etsy and the fashion designer who makes thousands of purse sales and magazine ads. If you happen to start selling something A LOT more than you expected in the future, you can always come back and upgrade your license.) If I find that my artwork has been used by someone I do not recognize as a usage license owner, every effort will be made to contact and clarify your brand/name/contact info or date of purchase.


As a last resort, if I find art that has plainly been stolen or is being used outside of the purchase limit, I contact the service provider with a DMA take down notice. If you want to make sure that something you're planning to do is ok, or if you have a complex situation that requires clarification, feel free to contact me with the details of your request below.