This is something that both online publishers and artists need to refresh their memories on to avoid legal issues and protect the rights of original work.

Christmas Card Image

Christmas Card Design, created by Salomeja Marcauskaite

With it being the festive season I thought I’d share a Christmas illustration that I liked the look of from Behance – created by London-based Salomeja Marcauskaite. Notice how I attributed the work with the text immediately underneath the image in italics. This is the correct way to link to an artist’s work – something for you bloggers out there who want to share and inspire your readers.

To add it to this blog I of course had to seek the permission of this artist to share their work, which was provided on Behance’s Creative Commons License:

Many artists choose to have profiles that share their work like Behance, which allows them to say whether or not they permit the sharing or use of their work and what the conditions are.

If this Creative Commons License wasn’t an option then I would have had to contact the artist directly and ask for their permission to share their work via this blog. The reason for this is that they may not want their work to be shared on particular sites and there are also legal issues involved that I would like to avoid regarding copyright in the UK, which are fully explained in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Sharing is Caring

Rather than looking at it from a legal perspective, I like to look at linking for visual artists as a way of aiding their progression. As a big fan of illustration and graphic design I am subscribed to different blogs and communities. I recently found this article through Facebook and found myself in a frustrated scenario:

As much as I loved the designs that this article provided me with, I wanted to find out who the artists were for particular works, however, because the author of this blog post didn’t credit or attribute the work in any shape or form I wasn’t able to find more work by my favourite artists in the blog.

Publishers of content need to help artists by referencing their shared work with links. In such a competitive industry, if there is no way to find who produced a work of art then they will not get the credit they deserve. Imagine having your work adored by hundreds or thousands but no one knowing who created it.

It may seem long-winded to get the permission of the artist to share their work but most artists are happy for you to do so, providing that you mention them in a link that goes to their portfolio.

For Artists

Understandably there is a need to share your work via social networks, online portfolios, and websites for free in order to gain exposure, however, be sure that your work is protected and being shared properly by checking if the websites you are publishing your work to have a Creative Commons License otherwise you could be at risk of giving your hard work away for free use in a range of things.

Most networks have an option for you to select if all rights are reserved, which means that no one is permitted to share or distribute your work. Unfortunately you may find that it is being shared illegally in which case you can request to have it removed from certain locations if you are passionate about protecting your work.

There are other copyright options available, such as permitting the right for the sharing of your work, providing that it is credited appropriately. Just be sure to define what your terms of use and distribution is i.e. for non-commercial use, etc.

Follow or No Follow?

The choice of whether or not to provide a followed link to such works is one that many Search Engine Optimisers (SEOs) have debated for a long while. Some are of the mind that it is polite to provide a followed link if the source you have taken information from is trustworthy. Others argue that outside linking is a waste of the authority within a blog post. Whichever mind you are of, just remember this: a followed link to visual art could help the visibility of that artist’s work in search results so you will be doing them a favour in exchange for the extra bit of entertainment they’ve provided your blog article with.