Sharpen your pencils peeps here’s an excellent multiple choice copyright test I found on the Art + Law + Blog via Photo Attorney.

1. Copyright protection comes from placing a “©” on your work.
a. Absolutely true. Why else would that little c be in the circle?
b. Sometimes true, depending on things I’m not really sure about.
c. Not true.

2. Copyright protection requires registering your work with the Copyright Office in Washington, D.C.
a. This is a trick question. It’s true that copyright protection requires registering your work, but you don’t have to do it at the Washington office. You can do it at one of the many affiliated offices through-out the country. In fact, I think I saw one just the other day.
b. Not true. I created it, it’s mine, and there’s nothing more I have to do.
c. Of course. Why else would your tax dollars go to support a federal copyright office?

3. Placing the work in an envelope and mailing it to yourself has the same effect as registering it with the Copyright Office.
a. No. If it did, why waste the ink to print this article?
b. Of course it does. If it didn’t, why waste the ink to print this article?
c. Yes. And if enough authors send in their tasteless dreck, the postal service may not have to raise rates again anytime soon.

4. If it’s on the Web, it’s free for the taking.
a. No. Stealing is stealing.
b. Sure, why not?
c. This is true, but only if I use a 28KB modem, and the copyright expires before I finish downloading it.

5. Copying just a little bit does not constitute copyright infringement.
a. Maybe.
b. Maybe.
c. Maybe.

6. Company names and slogans, such as Microsoft, Coppertone, “Just Do It,” and “Things Go Better With Coke” are protectable under the copyright law.
a. Sure, they all originated from companies that are crawling with copyright lawyers.
b. No, or it wouldn’t be a copyright myth.
c. What things go better with Coke?

7. Once I have copyright protection, it lasts forever.
a. Nothing lasts forever.
b. Define “forever.”
c. Yes, this much I know.

8. When I acquire a copyrighted work, I also acquire the copyright to it.
a. How else would museum shops stay in business?
b. Uh, isn’t this why Napster got in trouble?
c. This better be true; otherwise, I just severely overpaid for “A Bug’s Life.”

9. Sure, you can copyright a book, a movie, or a song, but there is no way you can copyright a house.
a. This must be true. Just drive through Orange County.
b. Not so fast. I’m from Orange County, and the houses are not all alike; those shades of beige are distinctly different.
c. This is false; you can copyright a building, but only if it was built less than a dozen years ago.

10. Once a copyrighted work goes into the public domain, I can reproduce it and claim the copyright for myself.
a. Uh — no.
b. Sure, but you need permission from the former owner first.
c. Yes, as long as the copyright had been held by the federal government.

11. The concept of “moral rights” does not exist under U.S. copyright law.
a. Oh, please. Is this going to get preachy?
b. No. Like snobby maître d’s, stinky cheese, and sautéed garden invertebrates, it’s a French thing.
c. Well, maybe it’s not called “moral rights,” but the same basic idea exists.

BONUS: Is this excerpt a violation of copyright law?
a. APE, you will be hearing from an attorney shortly.
b. No man, links are like internet money.
c. Yes this is a little too much but nobody who’s reading this and is the least bit interested in copyright will not hit that link to read the original material so I give you a pass unless they ask you to take it down in which case you better not get all offended and start spewing about how links make the internets run and go on a jag on your blog claiming you will never ever ever give them any of your valuable link juice…

Answers are (here).

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  1. I loved this “test” and book marked it when it was initially posted. It amazes me how much copyright misinformation is being passed around between artists. Many would rather sit and ask questions of their friends rather than research an accurate answer at

    Electronic registration has made copyright easy and is now a part of my work flow. When I quote a job, I add a line for copyright registration. The few times it has been questioned, I simply tell the client that registration is part of the process and this small fee is a lot like the “hazardous waste disposal fee” when you get your oil changed.

    • @Tony Blei,

      Someone should do a “Is a model/property release required?” test next.

      I see more misinformation in that area more than anywhere else.

      • @craig, The test should go something like this:

        1. What is the answer to a question that starts out: “Do you think I need a…”
        a. If you have to ask, you should have put a pen into someone’s hand.

        My commercial liability insurance company made it abundantly clear that I need to have an established history of signed releases.

        Whether copyright or releases, put out a fire before it ever starts.

  2. Great Fun,
    Now if I copy and paste this but change the colours in an Andy Warholesque manner, can I start selling it on T-Shirts?

  3. I’m in the process of designing a new website, and was wondering if the © symbol is even necessary to put on the bottom of every page…It is a little distracting in the minimalistic design I’m creating and according to the answers in that article, it doesn’t seem necessary. I’m planning on registering my images in the library of congress anyways, do you think I should still include the © symbol? Will it give me more leverage if a court battle ever came up?

    • @Ross,

      According to Q2, you dont need it. And my feeling is the © symbol is a way to encapsulate/summarize the copyright law. So when someone sees it, they know right away what it means.

      But then the questions of “When was it created?” comes into mind and i think registering it would solve it.

    • @Ross, It’s not really necessary to have the big C stamped on everything.

      When I was a kid, a friend came over with a name engraver and asked us if we wanted to borrow it. I thought it would be cool to put our name on everything, but my dad said, “That the only thing putting your name on stuff does is tell the people who they stole it from.” Putting a copyright symbol on an image is merely telling someone that the naturally copyrighted image has a copyright.

      You may want to put your info into the metadata, however. The removal of that date could help prove that the infringement was malicious.

      And for God’s sake, whatever you do, don’t listen to me. Contact someone like Carolyn Wright for the Gospel Truth.

  4. how do you guys feel about creative commons/non commercial? isn’t this where we should go?

  5. Creative Commons is a legal tool created by those who want to be able to do whatever they wish with intellectual property; without having to worry about getting in trouble. Although the tool itself isn’t promoting IP misuse or infringement, it certainly muddies the waters enough to have the same effect.

    It is a relatively untested legal position; meaning that challenges and enforcement are even less likely given the cost. It’s more expensive to chart new territory than already discovered land.

    It is the solution to a problem that never existed. As an IP holder, I am freely able to give my work away. Or sell it. Or trade it. Or do whatever I want within the law. But I have to be the one to agree to allow its use, or make use of it myself. I don’t need CC to do that for me.

    With CC, the idea is that works treated as such don’t come with any ‘ask the owner’ strings attached.

    Hey, it’s fine. If people want to give stuff away, more power to them. Cube jobs are going to India faster than ever. They’ll learn about being undercut from somewhere, just as the rest of the economy is right now.

    But CC isn’t needed to give stuff away. It just makes it easier for big companies to spend less (no) money on obtaining art. And with many things legal, the terms applied are vague, imprecise and subject to interpretation.

    Never mind that even if someone did have a problem with the way one of their CC images was used, they’d have an awfully hard time providing a preponderance of evidence in court that they are, in actually “pixilgrrl” on Flickr. That is, if pixilgrrl was even aware of the use in the first place.

    CC is a bad joke played out on stupid people by evil men.

  6. It is a shame that the link to the answers no longer works. I guess the person who posted this originally didnt like the hits to the answers page.

  7. Do you not know how to set up a proper online questionnaire?

  8. Mail me a scantron so I can mail you my answers

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