Basic courtesy that Mama should have taught you: Don’t take, share, or use something that isn’t yours without permission. Now in fancier words…
Nothing on this site (text, images, artwork, graphics, tutorials, guides, demos, downloads, etc) should be copied, altered, duplicated, redistributed, reposted, reproduced, or claimed as your own without permission. Copying all or any portion of this site without consent could be illegal and punishable by law.
I began Scratchmade Journal with the sole intention of encouraging others to embrace and explore creativity through art. (Read more about why I began this website here.) I constantly share my artwork and techniques, color charts and printables, in-depth information and discoveries, discounts and giveaways, and I’ve even shared art supplies with many of you. And I spend countless, unpaid hours every week doing so.
In return, all I ask is that you don’t steal my stuff.
I know those who have no regard for copyright laws won’t read this, or if they do, they won’t care. This post is for those of you who have a desire to respect artists’ copyrights. I’ll begin with tips and advice for honoring artist copyrights.*
Information on what is okay to share and use from my site is at the bottom of this post or at my fine print.
*Please note that I’m not a lawyer and have no desire to be a lawyer. This article is NOT legal advice and should not be taken as such. Most of this article is my opinion regarding common courtesy, or in other words, how to practice kindness. If you have problems with the concepts of courtesy and kindness, you are at the wrong website.
How to honor artist copyrights & protect artists.
Don’t visit websites that publish illegal content.
These sites are fairly easy to recognize because they tend to be rather generic or may have a lot of information about various subjects. They are content mills, so there won’t be a “face” person or authorship. They can also be very dangerous and harbor viruses, malware, or worse.
Don’t follow people on social media or participate in forums or groups that don’t respect copyright laws.
These can be a little harder to spot, but unless you know an artist or group is valid, avoid those that don’t abide by or respect copyright treaties. Take extra care with international sites. I’m sad to say it but some countries are notorious for copyright breaches. Many of these foreign “artist” social media feeds, websites, and groups are set up to find artists to plagiarize. Also, avoid feeds or accounts that do nothing more than repost. And if you notice photos that look oddly clipped or slightly familiar, or "artists" that never share their WIPs or creative processes, that could be your cue to flee.
Stand up for artist rights.
If you notice a copyright issue, privately reach out to the offender regarding the issue. Some people unknowingly breach copyright law so be kind, at least at first. If they refuse to correct the situation or are belligerent, feel free to call them out publicly, not to shame them but to notify others so they can protect themselves against this person.
Most importantly, honor copyright laws yourself.
It is NOT okay to share someone else’s photos, resources, or information, even if the artist is credited. Only the original creator can legally share unless permission is granted, and if so, that permission should be clearly stated. (By the way, “Photo courtesy of…” can mean it was used without permission. Instead look for, “Photo republished with permission.”)
This includes printables. Unless permission is granted, it’s not okay to copy my printables for your sister, art class, nature journaling group, etc. It’s also not okay to take my information or printables and rearrange them or republish them in any format. It’s definitely not okay to profit from my work and can land you in legal trouble.
If an artist inspires you and you copycat their work as part of the learning process, enjoy your success quietly. Copyright and plagiarism laws state that the standard for infringement is “substantial similarity,” which means an observer might recognize that the second work takes inspiration from the first. Closely evaluate your work to make sure it complies. If it doesn’t, do NOT post a photo of “your” art on social media and do NOT give it away or sell it. By the way, my tutorials are simply to show you how to create your own artwork. They are not given to you to recreate my artwork and share it on social media or your blog or sell it, etc. (More on this below.) Learn more about how to be a proper and ethical copycat here.
If someone has greatly inspired you, take the time to say ‘thank you.’ It’s always nice to give the original artist proper credit for the inspiration by tagging them on social media, or send an email to let them know that you found encouragement through their work. Most artists are highly appreciative of this and will celebrate your successes with you!
Not all of these things fall under copyright law, but some do. However, all are common courtesies that I polite ask you to consider before using my content. NOTE: These are my personal permissions; not all artists may grant these same permissions.
Sharing a post or article. Sharing a blog or page link with an auto-generated grabbed image via social media (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc) is fine. Also, you’re welcome to pull one image and a paragraph and republish with a link to the original content. Nothing on this site should be republished in full. Word of mouth is much appreciated, and I'm happy my work spoke to you, so thanks!
Sharing something that you created using one of my tutorials or ideas. If you use one of my tutorials to create a work of art and your result bears substantial similarity, it would be great if you would credit me and tag @ScratchmadeJournal when sharing the piece on social media. Please show the same courtesy with my palette color ideas, etc. Again, profiting from these creations may fall under copyright jurisdiction.
Sharing paid printables with anyone in your single-family household. In other words, I’m fine with multiple copies for use with your child and/or spouse provided that they live with you. Please refer family & friends to Scratchmade Journal so they can download their own. If you’re interested in making multiple copies for an educational group or class, please contact me or see my educational discounts in my store. Sharing a link or pin to the blog post or store item where the printable is featured is just fine.
Sharing free printables under creative commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. All that massive acronym means is that I grant permission for you to use, copy, and share most of my free printables for non-commercial purposes as long as you do not change the printable, in part or whole, and give credit and link to ScratchmadeJournal.com. (License terms are located here. All free printables that fall under this license will state so on the printable.) I also grant additional permission under this license to use and share my free printables during a class as long as you don’t directly profit from the printable. If you’re interested in using one of my printables for other commercial reasons, please contact me.
Using my palette ideas & color information to create your own palette. I share information and ideas to inspire you to create your own perfect palette. However, if you love one of my palettes exactly as it is, well awesome! You’re always welcome to recreate it, but I spend weeks and months developing each and every palette, so it would be very nice if you would credit me. If you’re interested in purchasing my exact palette, you can see it here.