Copyright FAQs

Copyright - what is it?

Copyright protects creative or artistic works. You should only copy or use a copyrighted work with the copyright owner's permission.

Copyright protects literature (e.g. novels, manuals, articles, website content etc), music, art (including paintings, sculptures, photographs, maps and logos), layouts and recordings.

Copyright applies to any medium. This means that you must not reproduce copyright protected work in another medium without permission. This includes, publishing photographs on the internet, making a sound recording of a book, and so on.

Copyright does not protect ideas for a work. However, when an idea is fixed, for example in writing, copyright automatically protects it. This means that you do not have to apply for copyright.

If an item is under copyright and I want to use it, what do I do?

You must seek permission from the person who holds the copyright (usually the creator). For example, if you wish to use a photograph, contact the person who took the photo.

You may be asked to pay a fee for the ue of the item, depending on where you wish to use it.

Always ensure you get written permission and that you keep it filed in case of any future issues.

There are some exceptions - at times, the creator clearly states that they are granting permission for people to use their material without express permission. This is usually in return for some sort of fee or recognition. In this instance, providing you meet their conditions of use, you may use the item.

Image formats

What are Raster Images?

There are two main groups of image types - Raster images and Vector Images.

Raster image formats should be the type you would be most familar with. A Raster format breaks the image into a series of colored dots called pixels.

Benefits: A Raster image is often able to achieve a more realistic effect than vector images. It is often also able to have more effects applied to it compared to vector effects.

Negatives: A raster image is resolution dependent. This means that if you have a small image - you cannot make it bigger without losing image quality. However, you can take a large image and scale it down (ie make it smaller). A raster image is also often significantly larger in size (MB) compared to a vector graphic.

Common raster image types include: JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF and BMP.

What are Vector images?

Unlike raster images, vector images do not store their information as a series of dots. Rather they store information as a series of mathamatical calculations. This means that vector images are "resolution independent." This means that they can be increased in size infinitely and they will look as clear and as sharp as their did at a smaller size.

Common vector image types include: AI and EPS.

I want an image to place into Microsoft Word or PowerPoint that has a transparent background. What format do I need?

The best format to use when you need a transparent background is a PNG file - just make sure you request this feature as PNG's do not necessarily have transparent backgrounds.

If your image is a vector image, you can export your logo (or request that your logo be provided to you) as a WMF (windows meta file) or SVG (scalable vector graphic). 


What is image resolution?

Image resolution is very important, especially if you will be printing your work.

As a general rule, your image needs to be 300dpi resolution to be used in print work, and 72 dpi to be used in web work / on screen presentation. If in doubt, check with us to see if your image is of sufficient siz for what you are using it for.

Printing terms

What is CMYK?

CMYK - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black: The process colors used in color printing.  Black is usually added to enhance color and to print a true black.

What are crop marks?

Crop Marks - The lines drawn on artwork indicate where the image or image area should be trimmed after printing.

What does DPI mean?

Dots Per Inch (DPI) - The number of dots of ink generated by the half-tone process contained in an inch of picture.  Digital images measure pixels per inch or centimeter.

What are PMS colours?

PMS Colours - Pantone Matching System: A commonly used system for identifying specific ink colors.

What is a printing proof?

Proof - A trial print or sheet of printed material that is checked against the original to see if corrections need to be made.

Websites & SEO

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search Engine Optimisation is the process of changing your site so that it performs well on search engines such as Google. This process can involve:

  • looking at and refining the words used on your website, or the numer of times certain words appear.
  • reviewing the key words that you have used to help search engines identify your site
  • looking at other strategies such as increasing the number of other sites that link to your site. But remember, only allow reputable and related sites to link to yours.

Different search engines have different ways of ranking websites.

How do I choose good key words?

Think about the words that you would type into a search engine to find a similar service to the service you are offering. There are also services available that allow you to type in your key words and you will get a report on the percentage of people that use those words on search engines, and other similar words and how they perform in comparison.

Can I copy images off the website to use on my website?

Images (even those in a public space such as the internet) are protected by copyright. This means that you cannot use them on your website unless you have written permission from the copyright owner.
There are many sources on the web that provide you with free images, but ensure that the licence / terms and conditions allow for web use.

Disclaimer - important

The information on this page is not intended to replace legal advice. If you have any specific questions, or wish a professional opinion regarding any copyright issue, you should seek legal advice.

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