Copyright for Collage Artists

What's new at "Copyright for Collage Artists":

  • Added items to the myths page about parody and the poor man's copyright.
  • Added a couple of links to the links page.


If, like me, you are a collage artist, then copyright is probably a matter of great concern to you. (If it isn't, then it should be!) Many artists seem to feel that thinking about legal niceties, like copyright, will inhibit their creative flow. Personally, I think it's best to understand potential legal issues ahead of time. That way, the artist is able to focus on his/her work without the intrusion of fear of a lawsuit. That's why it's imperative to consider copyright issues before beginning a collage which might someday be published. Unfortunately, copyright law is a murky and confusing issue. There are all kinds of myths floating around, which the naive artist may assume are true because someone they trust told them. The laws themselves are so complicated that when researching on one's own, it's difficult to get clear answers.

Though I am not a lawyer, I have done a fair amount of research into copyright law as it applies to collage in the past few years. I have collected the information I have learned onto this page, to help others who wonder about the same questions I do. Please understand that this page is not intended to offer legal advice. I am not a lawyer; the information on this page is nothing more than my personal interpretation of US copyright law. I have only included information that can be verified, mainly at the US Copyright Office website. There's enough misinformation floating around as it is; my hope with this page is to dispel some myths, not add to them. I have included links where appropriate so you can get it "straight from the horse's mouth" and decide for yourself whether you agree with my assessment.

I hope this page will serve as a starting point for people who are researching copyright on their own. If you are working on a collage that you hope to someday publish, there is no substitute for a good legal consultation. It may seem like a lot of money, but it's dirt cheap compared with the heartbreak of being told by a publisher that you must completely redo your work to eliminate copyrighted material -- or worse yet, receiving a letter from the lawyers of someone whose copyright you have inadvertently infringed.

I welcome your feedback if you see an error on these pages, have some information you'd like to see added, or want to tell me you liked or hated the page. Send me e-mail to, or use the handy form. If you have information on copyright law, please include a reference I can check. Thanks for your assistance in keeping this page useful and up-to-date.