Can I Have The Digital Art File?

Most frequently asked question.

By Kevin RR Williams

WEBSITE “I want to print it out at a different size…” No. “I am in another country and the shipping cost is too much…” No. “I don’t have time to wait for physical delivery…” No. “I can’t read the text on the preview image…” No. At the risk of sounding unsympathetic, the rationale is understandable but the answer is still no. We simply do not have access to high-resolution images for most of the titles in our store and if we did, distributing the art is unethical.

The disappointing response has nothing to do with the lack of compassion and everything to do with copyright laws. Access to all types of visuals of various resolutions on the Internet has contributed to the general ignorance of such laws and the principles of how copyright owners earn a living.

 The answer is still no.

It costs several thousand dollars to produce one poster that is sold for less than twenty bucks. The unit cost also includes additional fees for warehousing, shipping and overhead. A library of several hundred SKUs has a seven-figure production cost. Some titles may sell well to compensate for those that do not. So you may be asking for art with a value of tens of thousands to several hundred thousand dollars. The copyright holder grants permission to display the work in a particular format (i.e. printed poster). Access to high-resolution artwork for reproduction disregards the production investment and allows multiple impressions without incremental compensation to the copyright holder.

The reproduction right is perhaps the most important right granted by the Copyright Act. Under this right, no one other than the copyright owner may make any reproductions or copies of the work. Examples of unauthorized acts which are prohibited under this right include photocopying a book… It is not necessary that the entire original work be copied for an infringement of the reproduction right to occur.

Out of respect for artists and copyright law, by permission, displays relatively low-resolution preview poster images. Requests for high-resolution images must respectfully be denied. On the upside, several posters are available for download at no cost. Search the store for the keyword “free.”

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Tags: free download, desktop printer, intellectual property, legalities, usage rights