How to use copyrighted works

How to identify a copyrighted work

Works become copyrighted automatically the moment they are made. Every creator of a work automatically owns the rights to the products of its intellectual property.

The creator doesn’t need to add a ©, or to write, “all rights reserved” to protect his work. He can decide for himself who can copy his work or he can sell the intellectual property rights to another person or a corporation.

Due to these facts it doesn’t help to label a work with the name of the photographer or designer. And it doesn’t matter if you use it for commercial or non-commercial use. It’s not allowed and I recommend that you do not try it. Lawsuits are rife.

How to get permission

If you want to use a copyrighted work on your website you have the following possibilities:

  • Buy a licence.
    You can achieve a temporary or limited permission to use the copyrighted work. This is normally fast and easy. You buy the licence from a corporation that holds the intellectual property rights.
  • Negotiate with the owner.
    You can contact the owner, if possible, and negotiate the conditions of use. This is a long and complicated process. The rights holders are often more than one person and especially in the music business it’s nearly impossible to get permission.

Related links

How to avoid copyright infringements


Music, designs, photos, illustrations, and so forth are intellectual creations and copyrighted works. You are not allowed to use them in part or in whole without permission from the creator.

Find out