Lianne Williams

You have my permission: Things you are and aren’t allowed to do with my artwork & images.

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You have my permission, copyright clarification.jpg

My Copyright Clarification: Things you are and aren’t allowed to do with my work, art & images

Unless you’ve been living under a rock and think ‘iF iTz OnLiNe It MuSts Be FrEe RiGht?!?!? Loolz ‘ Copyright in the UK is a pretty straightforward notion where What You Create is Automatically Yours and nobody is allowed to use it or claim ownership of it without your expressed permission. 

The exact laws and details pertaining to what Copyright means and includes does indeed vary from country to country, but a simple way to avoid even worrying about those rules is to just ask to the creator permission and to find out from the copyright owner themselves how exactly their work may or may not be used.

Perhaps, this is why copyright has become confusing- especially online where international laws and rules may differ from our own? One common confusion for instance is the application of the US law of 'fair use' which is different here in the UK. Not to mention, daily, I see creatives defining what they consider to be copyright infringement of their work very differently to each other. For instance, I've seen one popular artist have a huge problem with their artwork being copied by a student. They were outraged. But another artist, like myself, doesn't have a problem with it at all... in fact I support it! So although it doesn’t change the basic law of copyright (to be sure you still need to always ask permission), it CAN be very confusing for the average peep on the street who isn’t au fait with the laws... or etiquette and has been ill informed by all the different advice given out online.

With that in mind, today I want to make life a little easier for my followers and to clarify my own copyright terms so you can see exactly what you can and can’t do with my work. I do get quite a few emails about this and I thought, you know what, I'm going to lay it out clearly in a blog post so we can both save time. If you know what I give permission for you can go ahead and save us both 20 minutes. 

So these are MY copyright terms.

EVERY CREATIVE WILL BE DIFFERENT so just because I say it’s okay, does not mean another artist will tolerate it.

Also, disclaimer: this is by no means a legal document, nor is it exhaustive- this post is a GUIDELINE, one I can amend or cancel at any point. Contact me if you’re unsure and get my explicit permission if there could be any doubt thrown into the mix. Otherwise apply with respect and honesty.

Rules that apply to Everyone

  • No reproduction, publishing, exhibition or reselling of my artwork or content at any time without strict written permission. If you're financially profiting directly or indirectly from my work in any way STOP.
  • Please don't use my artwork or images as your profile pictures or in any kind of web graphic without permission. It makes my credit difficult to find and people will assume the work is yours and not mine which is unfair. Consider commissioning me to create you your own profile picture or banner if you love my work? Then it's yours to do with as you wish.
  • No editing of my images, text or artwork. Please avoid reposting or reproducing my artwork or images with filters or crop them. If you need my work in a different format please approach me and I will provide you with the correct images myself. This is as security measure as well as aesthetic preference.
  • Cloning of my images, posts, tutorials and in fact any other material is strictly forbidden without permission.
  • Pinterest pinning is welcome. Sharing to social media is also welcome.
  • If you're referencing my work in a harmful, abusive or harassing way you can kiss my ass- i'm definitely not given you permission to use it.
  • Despite being very casual and open minded about this, I DO have a solicitor and I CAN afford to chase you down if you take the mick. You have been warned.

Students & Non-Professionals

Plagiarism will already be a factor you’re well aware of (hopefully) and your teacher or examination board should have clarified the rules of this clearly- but if you’re in any doubt: REFERENCE & CREDIT ANYTHING that you put in your exams, sketchbooks or coursework that you have not uniquely thought up or created yourself.

I know people who have been failed in exams and dropped from their degree courses because they ignored the importance of referencing. Examiners and teachers take it VERY seriously. It's also good practice because ten years down the line when you're trying to remember who influenced you, you'll already have the info written down.

That said, all students both in educational settings and self taught at home are welcome to explore, reproduce, trace, collage, embellish, reference, print, be directly inspired by, dissect and learn from my work and website. Do whatever you like with it if it's helping you learn to become the artist you want to become.

The only rules are: 

  • DO NOT CLAIM THE WORK IS YOURS IN ANY WAY. Always put 'inspired by Lianne Williams' or 'After Lianne Williams'. Even on social media. Even on your blog. Even in your sketchbook.
  • CONVENIENTLY FORGET MY CREDIT. Definitely don't just leave my name off work so people may assume you did it. Feature my work? Trace it? Directly influenced by me- my name's got to stay with it. If you like my work and have learnt from it please do me the favour of at least telling other people about me.
  • NO REPRODUCTIONS TO BE EXHIBITED OR SOLD. Definitely reproduce my work in your sketchbooks or for private study. Copy the hell out of me. It's the quickest way to learn a style or technique. Just don't go exhibiting those works or try to sell them as your own. (My work may be exhibited publicly in sketchbooks if credit is given)

I support the idea that artists should steal from each other, but with the goal to learn and develop Ones own style which is unique and different. I do NOT support the idea of duplicating someone’s work to sell it off or imply it's your own.

Please note, there will be exceptions to these rules such as any artwork you create as a result of my tutorials or courses- but if there IS an exception, it will be stated at the time independently to this post.

Brands, Professionals & Businesses

As a rule my work may not be used in whole or in part for any commercial or public purpose without permission, but there are some grey areas.

  • Similarly to students, professional artists may privately copy/learn from my work, but the restrictions and rules still apply to you too. Why not get in touch and we'll collaborate!?
  • In brief, don't profit from me and if you show anything related to me or my work please give full written credit like: by Lianne Williams at, with a click through URL link to my website, or tag me if able to do so on social media.
  • If you’re featuring me or my artwork in a blog post or article etc I’d like to hear about it and give consent & support just because I'm nosy, but it’s not essential. If you're referencing me, just credit me and add my links as described in the previous paragraph- that's all I really need. And you may use the associated images from my blog as long as that image clicks through to my site or has full credit next to it or on it. I can provide copyright free/high resolution images if you need them.

You may NOT: Use my work or reference me or my site in ways which could potentially be seen as offensive, obscene, controversial, politically or religiously motivated or alongside conflicting material which doesn't reflect my own opinions or values. If you're in doubt over what that means, please get in touch- this rule exists NOT because I'm worried about people swearing in their newsletter or because they voted differently to me, but because I don't want my stuff appearing on some awful trash website promoting some bizarre diet pill or cult. Catch my drift?

I also reserve the right to have my work removed from posts, features etc with immediate effect without explanation. Be nice and I'll be nice.

Personal Use

You may print off my pictures at home for small scale (not full size) private personal use such as in your scrap book, mood board, inspiration board or a place which is not publicly accessible, BUT it’s much better to buy a print or postcard off me- seriously. I know it’s tempting to just print off any picture you find online, and I know people do it, and I know there’s nothing I can do to stop you, so I’m not even going to bother trying, but if you can afford printer ink you can afford a 50p high resolution quality postcard and to support my work. Just think about it PLEASE, that's all I'm saying. 

You may use my artwork for phone backgrounds, desktops etc. But only for your personal, individual use only. No reselling permitted.

You may absolutely not reproduce or print my artwork as a print or artwork or display that copy in your home, office, shop or other private or public spaces without consent, including printing my stuff off onto paper, fabric or canvas, other products like phone cases or, or employing someone else to paint a mural of it without permission. Even if you pay for it to be professionally printed or pay the muralist, it's still my artwork being reproduced without my permission.

Prints are just as valuable and respected as original artwork and by stealing one you are devaluing the prints I create for my clients who PAY for them. It won’t be just me who’ll be pissed off- you're ripping off my paying collectors too. It’s no different from music or film piracy.

As a precaution I do copyright my images and only show work online at a low resolution. If you so happen to find an image that doesn't have copyright or is full resolution that does NOT give you permission to use it.

Existing Clients

If you’ve commissioned me or purchased work, the copyright automatically still belongs to me unless we've contractually agreed otherwise. If you need a refresher on what that means you can see my current terms here

I'm a reasonable human being and if for instance you've commissioned me and put that artwork onto a phone case, once, for your own personal use, I will turn a blind eye to that. If, however, you've taken that work and put it on 200,000 phone cases and are reselling that wholesale then I'm going to have a HUGE problem with it. Don't be that person.

Tattoos: Currently I don't have a major issue with individuals taking my artwork or commissions and having it turned into a tattoo because I'd consider that 'personal use'. This may change in time. Obviously I'm not okay with tattoo artists offering my work to their clients as part of their portfolio of available designs without permission- but yeah if you see something of mine you love, go ahead and get inked, i'd love to see it.

If you're a tattoo artist who'd like to use my work regularly, please get in touch and we can collaborate.

Getting permission to use my work

If you would like to discuss or purchase copyright you simply need to get in touch and we can discuss the terms. In many cases I will just want to be made aware of something being used in a certain way- especially if it's for personal use. Any commercial use of my work where you make money from it, will definitely require permission and perhaps individual licence terms which you will have to pay for BUT my fees start very competitively and reflect the work and services you're getting from me. I don't work for free and I don't work for exposure- AND NEVER HAVE. This is non-negotiable.

What to do if you notice someone has used my work without proper permission:

If you see, or suspect anyone infringing my copyright please do the following:

  1. Do NOT engage, accuse or start a fight. Observe from a quiet distance so you can gather as much evidence as possible without them noticing or putting yourself in harms way. Plus, you could be wrong.
  2. Provide me with as much evidence as possible. Take screenshots or photos of what they're doing or have done. Send me links, names, addresses, times, dates, details. Avoid tagging me directly because this can cause them to block you or me, which is unhelpful. We need freedom to lurk :D
  3. If there is a safe, private option to do so such, report the suspected copyright infringement immediately to an admin, host, organiser, authority or teacher- anyone who may have the power to independently stop the infringement immediately. You don't have to, but it can help prevent copyright infringement escalating- for instance if they've entered a contest with my work, the contest host can choose to exclude them immediately if you let them know what they've done.
  4. That's it! Once I know about it I can decide what action to take next. You don't have to be involved in the situation any further but your help is always greatly appreciated.

As always, don't hesitate to get in touch if you need any further help or clarification and I hope this post inspires other people to clarify and discuss their own copyright terms.

I saw someone once try and justify her theft of someones work as an issue of arrogance. 'Who do you think you are? You're not important enough for copyright to matter! Leave me alone! I can do what I like. It's just a photo!'.

Don't get things twisted.

Copyright to artists and creatives is VERY important whether we're students, amateurs or world renowned professionals and you have no right, and never will, to dictate or bully people into stealing their stuff. Who are YOU to take our work? Who are YOU to decide whether work is valuable or not? And be warned. Many of us are becoming more aware of the problem and have begun employing proper legal advice to prosecute and claim against copyright thieves- whether they're a multi-million pound company stealing artwork to put on T-shirts or a naff facebook pages selling rip offs.

The internet IS closing down on this problem and it has ALL my support.

Respect Artists. Respect their copyright.