Anyone who has ever created a blog or put together a posterboard presentation for school knows that not all art is yours for the taking. Generally speaking, company logos cannot be used without the permission of the company. There are typefaces that are so recognizably linked to a company that they cannot be used (Coke, Disney, Hershey’s, Budweiser). There are also pieces of art – specifically art produced in the 20th century and later – that is linked to a living, breathing artist who has the legal right to a royalty for every time his or her work is displayed or reproduced.
An alternative to this type of art which is called royalty art, is something called public domain art. Public domain art is any artistic piece that can be used freely by any member of the public. Public domain art becomes public domain for several reasons. In some cases, a drawing, sculpture, or painting cannot be linked to a particular artist. Any depiction of “King Tut”, for instance is royalty-free because no one knows exactly who crafted the King Tut statue. This is public domain art.
Some art is not so easy to identify as public domain. For instance, small graphics used to brighten up websites may be used by many people, but that does not mean they are public domain. So, going to a site such as Public Domain Empires will help you identify which art is free to use, which requires a royalty and permission, and it also shows you how to create a profit by using this kind of art.
Using art without the permission of the artist is both unethical and illegal in most cases. However, using public domain art means that you can use the art however you wish, alter it if you want, and create a final product that you can sell for profit.
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W.M Heus is a leading researcher on the subject of public domain sources. He is a director of popular website EarnWithDomains-Blog.Com. He writes informative articles on matters like public domain art and more. Check out the site for more info!
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