Digital age threatens copyright

Greater use of technology in design is putting designers in peril of losing control of their work, it is being claimed. Designers are warned they must fight for their rights in the digital age.

A graphics consultancy is calling for designers to band together to avert the danger of clients doctoring digital artwork. And the Chartered Society of Designers’ adviser on copyright, Geoffrey Adams, is warning of the “considerable danger” posed by greater use of new technology.

Mark Easton, partner at Definition Design Partnership, hopes to gather a group of designers who feel strongly about the issue, and present a statement to clients showing “where the designer, the client and the computer stand”.

With more clients asking for designs delivered on disks, Easton says there are emerging “horror stories of clients opening the work on disk and changing it”.

Adams suggests designers of all disciplines should appreciate what is “potentially a major new problem”. He says clients will bring more and more pressure on design consultants to give away their rights of alteration. “The use of disks means anyone can change work easily, and the problem is becoming acute.”

But Adams believes the solution lies in consultancies making individual agreements with clients.

Adams also hints at future pitfalls for graphic designers whose work is transmitted on the Internet. “You cannot foresee where your work is going to be used and in what form,” he says.

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