Where can I get copyright-free images for reference?

Often as an artist you need images to incorporate into your artwork either as reference, part of a collage, or some other element. But, as an artist, you also know that you don’t want to infringe on anyone’s copyright by downloading random images from the internet. A great resource is the Creative Commons Organization. Here you can search a huge database for images that you can legally use. Images (and other type of content) are posted by those who want to encourage reuse of their works by offering them for use under generous, standardized terms.

How long does copyright last?

In Canada, copyright lasts for 50 years after the death of the creator. Photography is an exception. If the photo is commissioned, copyright belongs to the client. The client has copyright for the remainder of the year the image was made plus 50 years.
In the US copyright lasts for 70 years after the death of the artist.

If I sell my original painting or drawing can I still make prints?

Yes, you can! As the creator of the image the reproduction rights belong to you. A buyer cannot reproduce your work without your express permission. Make sure to get good quality, high resolution digital scans or photographs of your artwork before they leave your possession so that you can make prints in the future.

For more information on copyright visit the CARFAC website or the BC based Artists’ Legal Outreach.