What Publishers Need to Know


What are the copyright implications of print-on-demand?

Copyright implications are important when it comes to print-on-demand, especially for content creators and publishers. Some of the main effects of POD on copyright are listed below:

  • Ownership: Any work that is created through POD gives the creator or publisher the ownership of the copyright. This means that they can legally control how and where their content is used, and are able to receive royalties when it is sold or reproduced.
  • Infringement: Print-on-demand removes the risk of infringing upon someone else’s copyrighted material since all the content is created from scratch and can be easily verified.
  • Licensing: Any content creator needs to obtain permission or a license from the Copyright owner to use their text materials, images or POD works. If used arbitrarily, this person will risk legal consequences and fines.
  • Piracy: POD also reduces the risk of piracy since all content is tracked and monitored digitally. This helps to ensure that content creators are properly credited for their work and compensated when it is sold or reproduced.
  • Distribution: POD also gives content creators and publishers the ability to easily distribute their work worldwide. They can easily create copies of their material and have them sent to different locations all over the world, allowing for a wider reach and more potential customers.

In general, print-on-demand technology aids in shielding publishers and content producers from piracy, illegal distribution, and copyright violations. Additionally, it gives them a practical mechanism to manage how their content is distributed and collect royalties when it is bought or copied.

Eventually, this permits creators to properly safeguard their work and make sure that they are receiving the correct pay for it.

Relate: Is Print on Demand Still Profitable in 2023

Using copyrighted materials in print on demand products

It might be a legal quagmire to use copyrighted materials in print-on-demand items. The original works of writers, painters, and other creators are safeguarded by copyright law. Text, pictures, and other kinds of creative works fall under this category.

You could be held accountable for copyright infringement if you use copyrighted assets in your print on demand products without the owner’s consent. You can face legal repercussions for this, such as damages, fees, and other penalties.

There are primarily two ways to lawfully include copyrighted content into print-on-demand products:

Request approval from the copyright holder

Getting consent from the copyright owner is the simplest approach to lawfully use copyrighted assets in print-on-demand items. This may entail speaking with the copyright holder personally or working with a licensing organization to secure the required authorizations.

Use public domain materials

Public domain content is not covered by copyright protection and may be freely utilized in print-on-demand products. This contains works for which the copyright has expired as well as those that were previously published before 1923 and are no longer covered by copyright.

There are other additional legal methods to use copyrighted works in addition to these choices, such as fair use and the doctrine of first sale. These, however, are intricate legal matters that must to be discussed with an experienced lawyer.

Difference between trademark and copyright

Trademarks and copyrights are two different forms of intellectual property protection with different functions. The main variations between the two are as follows:

  • Subject: Original works of authorship, including books, music, artwork, and software code, are protected by copyright. Words, phrases, symbols, and designs that identify and distinguish the source of products or services are protected by trademarks.
  • Purpose: In contrast to trademarks, which are used to protect a product’s or service’s brand or source, copyrights are used to protect the expression of ideas.
  • Protection: Trademarks protect against the use of confusingly similar marks in connection with the sale of goods or services, while copyright protects against the unlawful duplication or distribution of original works.
  • Duration of protection: Copyright protection lasts as long as the author does plus a specified number of years, whereas trademark protection can last as long as the mark is utilized in commerce and continues to be distinctive perpetually.
  • Registration: Copyright protection is automatic upon production of the original work, but trademark protection requires registration with the relevant trademark office in the nation where the mark is used or intended to be used.

Trademark vs. Copyright

Trademarks and copyrights are two distinct forms of intellectual property protection that cover different grounds and have different goals. Although a trademark protects the brand or supplier of products or services, a copyright safeguards the creative works of an author.

How to Secure Print on Demand Copyright?

The following actions can be taken by content producers to protect their Print On Demand (POD) copyright:

  • Register the work with the copyright office: Registering a work with a copyright office can assist prevent infringement by providing legal proof of ownership. Copyright registration is not required, however it might be beneficial in establishing ownership in the event of a dispute.
  • Use digital rights management (DRM) or a watermark: Watermarks can be used to denote ownership and combat piracy. DRM can also be used to prevent unlawful digital file sharing or copying.
  • Monitoring of violations: Online tools and services are available for content providers to keep an eye on unlawful uses of their work. To safeguard their copyright, they can take the proper legal action if they find an infringement.
  • Includes copyright and license notices: Add copyright and licensing information in a POD document to assist establish ownership and specify how the work may be used or shared. This can lessen the chance of miscommunications and potential violations.
  • Utilize trustworthy POD service providers: Content creators should make use of trustworthy POD service providers that have clear policies about ownership and use of copyrights. Before utilizing the service, they should carefully read the terms and conditions to make sure their copyright is safeguarded.

In order to secure print-on-demand, actions must be taken to establish ownership, stop infringement, and engage recognized service providers. Creators of content can safeguard their intellectual property rights and stop unauthorized use of their creations in this way.


Finally, while Print-on-Demand (POD) services provide numerous advantages to content creators and publishers, they also have significant copyright implications. Print on demand Copyright ownership, licensing, and infringement are all issues that content creators must be aware of. Creators should register their work, use a reputable POD service, including copyright notices, obtain necessary permissions and licenses, monitor their work, and take prompt legal action if infringement occurs to secure their copyright.

It is critical to understand that trademarks and copyright are two distinct types of intellectual property protection that apply to different subject matter and serve different purposes. While copyright safeguards original works of authorship, trademark safeguards the brand or source of goods or services.

Merchize.com is an example of a print-on-demand fulfillment service that helps content creators navigate the copyright implications of their work. Content creators can effectively protect their intellectual property rights when using POD services like Merchize by understanding copyright laws and taking the necessary precautions.


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