Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Artists and Copyrights

New York Memories

So- I have a question about artists and how copyrights affect our art.  I am VERY careful about not copying art of other artists, and paint my paintings from photos I take myself.  I would hate it if anyone copied my work, and would not do that to another artist EVER.  Well- I have some NYC subway tokens and thought they would make fun charms for my jewelry in my Etsy shop.  I looked around the internet - I saw many jewelry items using subway tokens, so I thought it was okay to use them.  After all, I am not trying to sell them to use on my subway- or saying that I designed them myself.  I am in no way claiming that I am affiliated with the MTA- or selling them as a token, simply as a piece of art.  My question is- how can recycling  a subway token hurt the MTA in any way?  I think I am free to sell these out-of-use tokens on ebay or at an antique store, so why not as a charm?
This necklace has been listed on Etsy for some time and out of the blue, I find out that it infringes on a trademark and I cannot sell it.  My main problem isn't that I cannot sell the necklace, but that MANY items like mine are available with a simple Google search.  Maybe I should have one of these other artists sell my item for me since they are free to sell them.


  1. Anche io cerco di usare per i miei dipinti solo fotografie scattate da me o dai miei amici,ho fatto solo un'eccezione per la Madonna che ho dipinto ultimamente:-)
    Ciao Sheryl,buona serata!

  2. Sheryl, I'm with you on not copying other artists' work. I'm surprised about the deal with the subway tokens. I wouldn't have thought twice about using them...

  3. Tout à fait d'accord avec vous... Inutile de vouloir copier un tel ou un tel... Notre esprit est déjà une éponge qui influence notre ressenti. Nous pouvons être inspiré par les oeuvres d'un ou de plusieurs artistes, mais notre chemin doit se faire seul...
    Votre idée est excellente.
    Gros bisous

  4. Grazie, Franz!

    Thanks, Candy- There's tons of jewelry using them, so I thought it would be fine!

    Merci, Martine!


Thank you so much for your comments- I love to hear what you think!