View Full Forums : Using copyrighted artwork in your sigs

09-27-2004, 06:48 PM
DG Moderators (Sobe): Public Service Announcement

As an Administrator of an art message board (Norrath's Studio ( and an artist myself, I deal with copyright issues on a daily basis. I eat, sleep, drink, and breathe copyright jargon, it sometimes seems to comes out of my ears! I preach copyright until I'm blue in the face and still I see people using signatures with artwork that clearly isn't their own. I don't presume to be an expert on copyright, but I hope that I can help to educate others with the knowledge that I do have.

To those who have message board signatures made from artwork or photographs that you did not create --- STOP!
Ask yourself these questions:

1. Where did I get this art/photo?
2. Do I know who created it?
3. Do I have that artist/photographer's permission to use it?
4. Have I wrongfully altered a copyrighted image?
5. Have I given this person proper credit?

Remember these key pieces of information when you start to right-click a "really cool" image you see on the web to save it:
1. Saving images from a website is stealing. An artist or a webmaster does NOT have to have a copyright mark on their images for them to be copyrighted. An artist or a webmaster does NOT have to have a copyright statement on their website or on their images for them to be exclusively theirs.
2. Most artists are gracious enough to give permission for you to use an image of theirs if you ASK! That's all it takes. One quick email saying "I admire your work and would love to use it in a message board signature. May I?" Most will gladly say yes.
3. When you receive permission from an artist or photographer to use their work, GIVE THEM CREDIT FOR IT! One small line of text beneath your sig stating "Artwork by Amy Brown, used with permission" is all you need.
4. If you have commissoned and paid for a piece of artwork from an artist, the piece belongs to you and you don't have to give credit. HOWEVER, show a bit of respect and courtesy for the hard work that went into creating your special commission .... GIVE THEM CREDIT! You will feel good about honoring the artist and they will feel good about receiving a bit of free advertisement!

If you would like to learn more about copyright on the internet and artists' rights, here is some more food for thought: (
What is Copyright . org (
The Copyright Files. Respect Artists. Don't Steal. (
Redistribution in Graphics Has to Stop

Finally, in terms of using Everquest screenshots for fanart, signatures, magelo backgrounds, website graphics, etc ... SOE allows such use to any account holder in good standing:
SOE hereby grants to each EverQuest account subscriber that is in good standing and with the grant automatically revoked as of the moment that the subscriber's account is no longer in good standing (an "EQ Subscriber") , a limited, personal, nonexclusive, nontransferable, nonassignable and fully revocable license to use (a) the EverQuest name, and (b) trademarks and copyrighted material from EverQuest including NPC names and images, diety and monster names and images, geographical names, item names and images, character names and images, background art, and screenshots containing any of the foregoing (collectively, "the SOE Property") , solely to be used for material (for example, so-called "fan fiction" and "fan artwork") that the EQ Subscriber posts to and/or transmits through SOE's Communication Features ("Licensed Content") in accordance with these Terms of Service -- and for no other use. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read this!

EJ Rippy
aka Jennafae