20 Rules for Starting Your Art Licensing Business

Written by Art Licensing Coach J’net Smith

Rule #5 Understanding Copyrights and Trademarks


You own the copyright to your artwork the moment you create them. I encourage you to register your copyrights when you create them, or at least when you begin to use them in business.

As you build your Art Licensing business, you may also need to look into securing trademarks for your brand, art collections and characters. This blog won’t go into the detail about how to do this, but I want to be clear about telling you that the registration of your copyrights and trademarks is the only thing that provides legal ‘teeth’ to pursue and win an infringement case, should you ever need to.

The law is written in a way that states that you must protect and defend your copyrights and trademarks. It’s never done for you. Once you have registered them, it’s really your privilege and obligation, to protect and defend them.

Without registering them, you really won’t have a foot to stand on in court.  It’s a very important point to understand.

Note: If you are interested you can check out three phenomenal classes covering Copyrights, Trademarks and Contract Language, which I teach with Attorney Elizabeth Russell. You’ll appreciate the simple terminology of the Legal Ease 3-class series, yet they incorporate full explanations and thoughtful presentations designed specifically for artists looking to license their artwork.  We even teach you how to economize on the paperwork and cost so you can maximize the process of protecting your art.

Visit our website to purchase and download these classes.

About J’net Smith

Jeanette Smith is the consummate art licensing coach—she is passionate about helping you achieve a level of success beyond imagining and definitely knows how to do it! In just six short years, J’net turned Dilbert™ from a relatively unknown syndication-based comic strip into a 200 million dollar a year global brand. Then in 2000, J’net translated and expanded on her extensive experience to train, advise and license all types of creators. She has helped hundreds of artists, graphic designers, painters, photographers, authors, illustrators, design firms, fine artists, creative companies, non-profits and agents to maximize the power of their brands and talents.

J’net is best described by her combination of specialties—she is one of those very rare people who possess a balanced combination of creative sensibility and extraordinary business acumen. It is this combination that has served J’net over the span of a very impressive career,and has garnered her equally impressive press and testimonials!

From her early days in New York building new divisions for such corporate giants as Official Airline Guides, MacMillan Publishing, Paramount Communications, and VIACOM International, to her six years of work at United Media spearheading the astronomical growth of Dilbert, Jeanette has compiled a long list of satisfied clients and has gained an enormous amount of respect and experience in marketing, licensing, advertising, PR, agenting, negotiating, and much more.

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