At this current period of my life, I have to admit I haven't been to concerned with protecting the rights of my work. Mostly, because I think that nothing I design is ever brilliant enough to be stolen, and for the few things that potentially are, usually are not easily accessible.
While I'm sure there are some who have taken steps to protect their best work, my guess is that most students look at copyright from a similar standpoint to mine. As laid back and unconcerned as we all may be, it might be important to consider copyright from a financial standpoint. I think its safe to say that for most of us, the decision to follow the graphic design career path had nothing to do with the fabulous starting pay we would have. That being said, I don't think anyone would turn down a significant fortune that were to come with a brilliant design.
Confused as to what I am referring to?
Milton Glaser is a graphic designer best known for designing the easily recognizable "I love New York" campaign. Glaser, was was asked by the city of New York in 1975 to design a logo to promote tourism. He agreed, created the logo free of charge and anticipated the campaign would quickly die off.
In Milton's words, he says "I did the bloody thing in 1975 and I thought it would last a couple of months as a promotion and disappear." As we all know, the campaign grew exponentially, the City of New York trademarked the logo, and Milton Glaser never made any profit from his brilliant design.
Being the respectable (and wealthy) man that he is, Milton brushes off the fact that he never made any profit from the campaign, saying that he has made so much that he never has to worry about money. But he does in say, in a passive-aggressive way, "Well I think you'd get annoyed if something you had done had been exploited by others and they made an insufferable amount of money doing it and you made none... Under those conditions I can see someone getting angry."
Consider yourself in the same situation, but without all Milton Glaser's money. Would you be angry?
Copyright is all about protection. Protection of your work, and protection of your rights to the work, including the financial rights. Milton Glaser designed the "I love New York" logo; its his vision, his creation, his brilliant idea. But because he never thought it would go anywhere, the City of New York owns his brilliant idea, and the money it makes.
Might not be a bad idea to reconsider...Are you protected?