Yes, watermarks count as copyright. And yes, you are allowed to use a watermark on a work. But watermarks are not a substitute for the consent of the rights holders. This is the law of your jurisdiction. The laws, including copyright laws governing the United States, vary widely from state to state and sometimes even county to county. You may wish to check with your local copyright attorney to determine whether use of a watermark on a work infringes the rights of the rights holder.
Are watermarks legal as a substitute for copyright registration?
Yes. The only limitation is that the watermark must not make a reference to any other document containing the work. In other words, if you are writing a novel and write down a series of words, your water mark would not prevent the original author from using that page in a future edition of the novel. If you want to give a watermark to a work that is already under copyright, or as a supplement, it’s okay, though you might want to consult an authorized copyrighter prior to using watermark.
Can watermarks be used on works produced by non-professional artists or freelance filmmakers?
Yes. There are two ways that a watermark can be used in a movie, book, or television adaptation. In the first, you can add a watermark to a printed copy when you file the original work with your copyright agent. In this way, you can be sure the watermark will be legally effective even if the copy of the work is not filed with your agent. In the second case, you can add a watermark to a digital copy of the work. This use allows the original author access to this digital copy and preserves a legal copyright title. In both cases, you will have to use a watermark to prevent other users from taking your rights away.
Why are watermarks used?
In an abundance of caution and with the highest of respect, writers and publishers choose to use watermarks to protect their rights. Watermarks allow writers and publishers to show that they own or control the work. And, as a result, the work stays with the author, giving the artist a greater opportunity to market and sell the work and to reach new audiences.
The first edition of The Black Vault is a limited-edition digital-only anthology of articles written by the legendary Chris Avellone, one of the gaming industry’s founding fathers, spanning over ten years. Written as a result of Chris’ ongoing discussions
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