West Roxbury, MA asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Massachusetts

Q: Can a vehicle be copyrighted as a work of art?

I designed the unique custom paint scheme for my car. Many publications take photos of custom vehicles then produce a product, magazine articles, for profit. Can a copyright protect me from someone else profiting off my labors?

1 Lawyer Answer

A: Absolutely! You can definitley protect your design. Imagine someone took a picture off a photographer's website and printed it on their vehicle; just because they used it on their car doesn't mean they haven't infringed on that copyright! The important part is that it's not the fact that you made it for your car, it's the fact that you created a 2D design that could, optionally, be put on a car. You could just as easily print it for wallpaper, for an iPad cover, etc. It is art that you created and it can be protected.

One important thing about protecting your copyright is that it must be registered for you to protect it correctly. If you register it and someone infringes, you may be able to collect statutory damages, which are a set amount of a money the law says you deserve due to the infringement. This is way better than having to prove your own damages. It is fairly inexpensive to protect your art, so reach out if you need any help with it!

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