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Cafe Mile Flinders Lane Melbourne Why Copyright Matters

Here today – gone tomorrow

Posted by Toni Collins | Q & A, VR Blog | No Comments

Imagine if the artwork you love, now installed in your home – had to be removed!


It can happen. If a company offers you an artwork, which is actually the work of another artist, (and that artist has not given permission), in order to resolve legal action, your provider may need to remove the artwork – replacing it with something else!

Doing your due diligence in the early stages of choosing your splashback provider is so important.

If you love an artwork, and really want that for your splashback – it’s important to know who created the artwork.


Here are a few tips on how to avoid the heartbreak and inconvenience a removal could cause.

Let’s say the artwork you are considering is photographic, or a combination ‘mash-up’ of photos; here are a few simple questions to ask:

  • Who took the photograph?
  • And… if someone else took the photograph, do you have permission to offer this image?


Beyond the questions there is another significant way to spot a provider of the unethical variety.

Is the artwork being offered to you visible on the companies website?

Or, is the work hidden away in a ‘private gallery’ for example?


If there appears to be some secrecy surrounding the work, rather than public openness… that is cause for suspicion. Please beware. Ask yourself; if the company did create the artwork, or had the authority to sell another’s work, wouldn’t they want to present it for all to see, rather than hiding it, and being secretive?


If a ‘private gallery’ is offered, that is good cause for alarm bells to ring, for you to be suspicious, and to ask questions about the origins of the artwork.


You may well ask,And why does that matter?

Because, if your provider is of the unethical kind, they are not likely to have permission to use an artwork created by another artist. And that can become a problem for you.


Why would that be a problem for me?

If the chosen splash back provider does not have permission to reproduce the art of another artist – that is copyright infringement. The original artist has the exclusive rights to the work, and can demand the removal of a reproduction.

After investing a lot of time and effort to consider, then select the artwork for your splash back, only to discover the person selling to you was not the original creator of the work and does not have any authority to offer it to you… the time spent will have been wasted.

So if you fall in love with a particular artwork, it is worth finding out just a few simple things before committing to a provider – to help you avoid the heartbreak and inconvenience removal of an unlawfully reproduced work may cause.


Are there any exceptions?

Another scenario entirely is stock photography from an image library source. Let’s say the image you like is from Getty Images – you will be able to source that image yourself; reading and agreeing to the terms Getty have to license the use of the image. It’s pretty straightforward.


The final word

The risk we are pointing out in the ‘here today – gone tomorrow’ scenario is when a company is either passing off another’s work as their own, and/or they do not have permission from the original artist to use the work. It will create issues, and you deserve not to be inconvenienced by the potential consequences.

Create dont imitate - Tess McCabe Quote 1

Create, don’t imitate

Posted by Toni Collins | News & Events, VR Blog | No Comments

Create, don’t imitate.

A message originally penned by Tess McCabe, founder of Creative Minds Publishing.


The quote, ‘Create, don’t imitate, is one I appreciate and wanted to share with you as I think it can be interpreted in a few different ways.


When thinking about home decorating from a finding your style perspective, the quote provides encouragement to…


Live for yourself and not for someone else

a quote from Shaynna Blaze


While it may be unusual for someone to decorate a home, buying all furnishings at the one time and being true to only one style. I like to interpret the quote as license to let a personal style evolve over time, rather than emulating an established style, verbatim.

Perhaps it is more realistic (and certainly more personal and interesting), for our homes to be filled with items treasured from our past, along with newer pieces to meet our comfort, function and aesthetic needs.

When I think about the quote ‘Create, don’t imitate in this way, I believe it gives creative license to experiment with old and new, to tinker with established styles and my take on them, therefore mixing things up, in order to discover my own style.  A method which takes courage, and trust in myself.


Shaynna Blaze would also council:

Your personal style will be a pinch of your past, a lot of your present

and ever evolving into the future.”


Beyond my home decorating interpretation of the quote, I am aware how the creator who originally penned the phrase intended ‘Create, don’t imitate’, to be received.  When creator Tess McCabe first shared the quote on Instagram, she wrote,

*SIGH* Another week, another armload of Insta-stories from artists, makers and designers regarding imitations of their original works being found online. Today, let’s send a message to those who trawl the web for ‘inspiration’ to step back and put their OWN thinking caps on! Feel free to re-post this image in your own feed. Here’s hoping it will flick on a few lightbulbs.

The message McCabe shared is a sentiment many creators of original work know only too well.  And lament when other less creative, or people with questionable ethics… simply copy their work.

As creators of original photographic artworks, we think the message behind Create, don’t imitate is inspired, thought provoking and worthwhile.

Why? Because you deserve original artwork in your home – not a copy by someone lacking in the imagination to conceive an original idea, or the skill to execute an original work.


A note about the images:

I gave our young daughter an assignment to decorate the quote I had printed.   The visual at the top of the post, and the next, are both her work. The one you see below was her first go at it. It’s super creative! But then… a five year old is very qualified to provide fresh, unencumbered creative designs.


Create dont imitate - Tess McCabe Quote 2

Colouring design by Roisin Collins. Five-years-old and loving colour.


VR creative inspiration for artwork COPYRIGHT girl in cafe

COPYRIGHT – What’s it all about?

Posted by Toni Collins | Q & A, VR Blog | No Comments

“If I see an image I like on the web, that’s free isn’t it?

I can use that image any way I like… right?”

Imagine for a moment…

You are out for breakfast on a Sunday and the woman on the next table has an elegant Louis Vuitton handbag resting on the back of her chair. You think…that is a good-looking bag, well sized; it will perfectly carry my belongings and compliment my outfit. You happen to have left your handbag at home – so you think, ‘I will have that!’ You lean over and take the handbag from the back of the chair. Would you do that? Probably not… because another person owns the bag! If you did take the bag, do you think the original owner would mind?

You can think about artworks, imagery and creative in the same way.

VR Blog Post COPYRIGHT Louis Vuitton Fashion

If you did take the bag, do you think the original owner would mind? You can think about artwork, imagery & creative in the same way.


Imagine you see something on the Internet you like and think it will work wonderfully as your kitchen splashback. In terms of ownership: it is safe to assume that the original creator of the image owns the work and if you would like to use it – asking permission is the thing to do.

VR Inspiration for artwork COPYRIGHT Internet Research COUCH COUPLE

The Internet provides great freedom of access to creative works. Please consider, each original artwork has a creator, and the creator is the owner.


“But then why have it on the Internet,” you ask? On the Internet, you can see it, you can make a copy of it in an instant, and surely everything on there is free for the taking? Well… actually… no! The creator of an original artwork may wish to promote and share their work, that’s why it’s on the Internet. And while the Internet does provide unprecedented freedom of access to creative works: please consider, each original artwork has a creator, and the creator is the owner.

Just as you intuitively know a handbag seen in a café has an owner…

Now apply the same thought process to imagery and creative you see on the Internet.

Generally speaking, when an original artwork is produced, the creator owns that work, and the right to reproduce an artwork is owned exclusively by the creator. In essence – that is what Copyright is all about. Copyright is a law to protect the rights and ownership of people who create original works.

The words of a qualified legal professional and expert in the field of Intellectual Property law can assist with understanding. Sharon Givoni wrote:


  • Copyright – is the right not to be copied.


  • Copyright law is intended to benefit creators.


  • Copyright law can provide a protection mechanism, with the intent to provide incentive for creatives to create and invest in ideas with confidence.


  • Copyright may be a complex area of law, but the underlying message is quite simple: don’t copy!


Extract from: ‘Owning It: A Creative’s Guide to Copyright, Contracts and the Law’.


This blog article is presented with the intent to increase understanding of copyright. While my explanation is dreadfully simple, of course, a professional in the area of copyright law would expand upon the vast complexities involved when interpreting and defending this area of law. But that is not really the point of the article.

The intent is to present in basic terms, the principle of a creative practitioner having the right to own their work output – along with the notion of a person taking that creative without consent or payment, is equivalent to stealing.

It is something to ponder.


VR Blog COPYRIGHT research for artwork inspiration VISUAL RESOURCE

Visual Resource ABSTRACT Gallery landing page. A wealth of creative inspiration at your fingertips. All works are created by VR and are subject to Copyright.