Copyright means all work sold and displayed on this web site is Pet Lover Art's and Rohling Studios' body of work. It means that you cannot reproduce images or words without written permission by Claudia Rohling at Pet Lover Art. All the art work on this website is Copyrighted. All rights are reserved by Pet Lover Art and Rohling Studios under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this Web Site may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission of the publisher, except for brief quotations or critical reviews. Feel free to contact Pet Lover Art if you have any questions at LEGAL@PetLoverArt.com.
Please understand the spirit in which the following information is given: Long experience tells us that our customers are completely scrupulous about adhering to the copyright conventions, and we make no assumptions to the contrary. This info is for newcomers and folks who may not understand the implications of these issues.
Thinking that the worst thing that can happen if you "steal" an image or text is that you can be forced to pay what you would have had to pay anyway...
Copyright laws provide for statutory penalties of up to $150,000 per infringement. "Borrow" an image or text ? Who's going to know, right? If somebody "catches" me, I'll just stop using it? Nope. You have "infringed" a legal copyright, and THAT's what we will come after you for: $150,000.
INCREDIBLY PAINFUL MISTAKE #2:
Thinking, hey, let THEM prove I took the picture or text.
"Intellectual Property" issues are different from a lot of things in the rest of the world. ("Intellectual Property" is how the law describes things like books, poems, symphonies and...photos.) In the rest of the world, if somebody thinks you stole something, they have to prove you did. In the world of "copyright infringement", you have to prove that you DIDN'T. Yep.
Let's say, for example, that someone sees one of their pictures used on your website or in a store. They can prove that it is, indeed, their picture. They own the copyright on it. They can make a demand that you prove that you have legally acquired the right to use the picture. If you can't prove it (usually in the form of a paid invoice) you're in big trouble. Very big. (See "Incredibly painful mistake #1", above.)
INCREDIBLY PAINFUL MISTAKE #3:
Thinking to yourself, "Hey, I'll just use Photoshop™ and change the pictures a little. Who's gonna know?"
Watermarking involves digitally embedding into an image a symbol that identifies the copyright holder.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 makes it a criminal offense to remove watermarks meant to protect copyright. Many people don't realize that under US copyright law, it is specifically illegal to remove a watermark from a photo. Not only is the act of removal prohibited, the courts assume that the very attempt indicates a willful intent to violate somebody's copyright. And that's something the courts come down really hard on. [See "Incredibly Painful Mistakes" numbers 1 & 2, above].
INCREDIBLY PAINFUL MISTAKE #4:
Thinking, hey, I'm too "small potatoes" for anyone to care.
Why we hate talking about this stuff...
In short, we hate talking about this stuff because it makes us sound like we don't trust our customers-- and nothing could be further from the truth.
Why we talk about it anyway...
What does "Intellectual Property" mean?
What is "copyright infringement", anyway?
Many people don't realize just how all-encompassing a copyright is. For example, there's a common misconception that any image appearing on a website may be downloaded and "saved" to disk. This is absolutely not the case. The very act of saving a copyrighted image to your local disk -- regardless of whether you ever do anything else with the image or not -- constitutes a copyright infringement -- minor, perhaps, and done all the time, but an infringement nonetheless. And infringements large and small are "actionable" (i.e., can be grounds for a lawsuit.)
How to keep yourself out of trouble
Why are penalties for copyright infringement so severe?
If copyright infringement resulted in nothing but a slap on the wrist, there are unfortunately those who would say to themselves, "If I get caught, I'll just pay the fine and consider it a cost of doing business." Lawmakers in the US have figured that $150,000.00 -- the maximum fine that can be awarded per infringement -- is a figure large enough to discourage that attitude in most people.
So, if you have larceny in your heart, think twice! One hundred and fifty thousand dollars!