So, you have found the perfect invitation for your child’s birthday party online. The colors match the party’s theme, and they even reference your child’s favorite fictional character. Better yet, you can get them personalized for a few dollars more. This is too perfect to pass up, and you purchase them and find out you have purchased the digital file. Or you purchased the digital file so you could personalize them further.
Everything seems to be going great, until you go to your local print/office store to print out the invitations. The store associate is refusing to print your invitations, they are claiming that copyright restricts them from printing your invitations. But you had paid for these invitations, don’t you own them? Even if this is not the case can’t you do whatever you want with them, so long as you aren’t selling them?
Well, like with most things in life and law, it depends. Copyright law on its face can be simple. A person has an idea, they manifest it in the physical world, and now it is copyrighted for their life plus 70yrs. However, there are nuances within the law that remove its simplicity. Due to the nature of your project you could be denied copyright protections, and you can even limit the rights and protections that comply to your intellectual property yourself.
With the increase in technology and the increased availability of digital media Copyright law has had to adapt a bit to make sure people can protect their intellectual property. To make sure the copyright owner’s rights are protected the law has developed a few differences in how it views digital and physical media. Often when it comes purchasing digital content, you have just purchased the right to use the content in a digital format. Digital media makes it easier for the Copyright owner to state they are selling a license to use the digital media and can restrict the use of their intellectual property in more ways than they could if it was physically on the self.
Even when you purchase a physical book or painting, you generall