♡ Copying is an act of love. Please copy and share.

♡ Copying art is an act of love.

People copy stuff they like. They don’t copy stuff they don’t like. The more a work is copied, the more valuable it becomes. Value isn’t taken away by fans, it is added by them, every time they copy.

♡ Love is not subject to law.

Although we appreciate and use Free Licenses when appropriate, these aren’t solving the problems of copyright restrictions. Instead of trying to educate everyone on the complexities of copyright law, we’d rather make our intentions clear with this simple statement:

♡ Copying is an act of love. Please copy.

♡ Please copy and share.

The Copyheart means we WANT you to copy and share. No restrictions. Just like it says: please copy and share.

Q. Is the Copyheart trademarked?

A. No. It’s just a statement of intention. Its effectiveness depends only on how people use it, not on state enforcement. Here are are some other symbols that aren’t trademarked, but whose meanings and intentions are widely (if imperfectly) understood:

✝  ☪ ✡ ☺ ☮ ♻

Q.Is the Copyheart legally binding?

A. Probably not, although you could test it:

  1. Mark your work with the ♡Copyheart message.
  2. Sue someone for copying it.
  3. See what the judge says.

We really don’t think laws and “imaginary property” have any place in peoples’ love or cultural relations. Creating more legally binding licenses and contracts just perpetuates the problem of law – a.k.a. state force – intruding where it doesn’t belong. That ♡copyheart isn’t a legally binding license is not a bug – it’s a feature!

Q. How do I use the ?

A. Use it wherever you would use the ©copyright symbol. Instead of

© Copyright 2010 by Author/Artist. All Rights Reserved.

you could write

♡2010 by Author/Artist. Copying is an act of love. Please copy.

or any of these variations:

♡2010 by Author/Artist. Copying Art is an act of love. Please copy and share.

♡2010 by Author/Artist. Copying Art is an act of love. Love is not subject to law.

♡2010 by Author/Artist. Please copy.

♡2010 by Author/Artist. Please share.

♡2010 by Author/Artist.

♡2010 Copying Art is an act of love. Please copy and share.

♡2010 Copying is an act of love. Please copy.

♡ Copying is an act of love. Please copy.

♡ Copying is an act of love. Love is not subject to law.

You get the idea. Of course you can do anything you want with the ♡Copyheart symbol, and any other symbol. We don’t own it. No one does.

42 comments to ♡ Copying is an act of love. Please copy and share.

  • Really like this idea. Any chance it maintains a “share alike” type function?

  • As TechDirt pointed out, one downside is that the the heart selected isn’t a standard HTML character (unlike the copyright symbol).

    I also kind of liked the “all wrongs reversed” text you’ve used in the past.

  • I’ll make sure to copy all I can. Much love :)

  • Lawrence D’Oliveiro

    I think you want a symbol with a circle around it, like the circle around the C in ©. That way the association with the copyright symbol is clear.

    But the circle on its own doesn’t seem to be available as a nonspacing diacritic in Unicode. Bugger.

  • Love this. Copied (the link to this page) and shared it from one of my twitter accounts.

  • Ian

    Love the heart, may it be copied a million times.

  • […] ♡ Copying is an act of love. Please copy and share. By Nina, on December 3rd, 2010 […]

  • […] ♡ 2011 Stephan Kinsella. Copying is an act of love. Please copy and share. […]

  • Nina, I am in perfect agreement. It seems obvious that every use of a work adds value to it. It seems obvious too that relationship between an author and the audience is that of love. And it doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to grasp the idea that economics of culture rest on these two points. But the conclusion that copyright disrupts these relationships does not seem obvious in the public perception, and this is a subject to work on.

  • Matthew

    Thank you Nina for those. I’m currently working on a project, I was planning on using the Creative Commons but I’ve decided to use your’s instead.

    I ♡ Nina Paley


  • Jose_X

    @Anatoly Volynets corporations are a tool to preserving money. They exist because some people with lots of money wanted to try to make more without risking the huge amount they already had.

    Corporations (the for-profit kind) are impersonal with a raison-d’etre to make profits.

    You can understand why such an entity would not feel they could compete in a world of sharing and goodwill.

  • Personally I think ‘Sharing is an act of love’ sounds more natural than ‘Copying is an act of love’

    Also, this:

    Q.Is the ♡Copyheart legally binding?

    A. Probably not, although you could test it:

    1. Mark your work with the ♡Copyheart message.
    2. Sue someone for copying it.
    3. See what the judge says.

    Regarding no. 2, WHAT? Sue someone for copying it? I thought the whole point of this was to remove restrictions on copying? The copyheart message says ‘please copy’ and you want to test if it’s legally binding by sueing someone for copying. That’s more of a test to see if you are legally sane more than anything imho.

    The comic strips are awesome btw! :)

    • sampada

      that was a joke!

      • Nope, it isn’t!

        It’s actually how the process of testing legislation works. It basically is the (sane) scientific method, applied to (insane) stuff like US law: to find out if X works, you try your hardest to prove that it DOESN’T work. If you prove yourself wrong (“win” the case), you’ve discovered that no, ♡Copyheart is not compatible with US law, and either (or ideally both!) needs to be fixed if you strive for a ♡ that is safe for ‘murricans to use, even despite their legal system.

        As long as public record states that all attempts to prove court that ♡ is dangerous to use (and may end up making yourself legally liable for what someone else did with your ♡:ed work) have failed, though, a growing record of failures makes ♡ stronger and safer to use, for everyone that lives or operates under the jurisdiction of the laws it has so far been tried under.

        Of course the ideal WAY of doing this is to stage “mock” court battles, rather than attacking someone trusting you (and the ♡ license) with a horde of frothing-at-the-mouth, rabid US lawyer minions, wielding +5 UPPERCASE CODIFIED LEGALESE, buffed with +100 RIAA/MPAA $$$s.

        The proper way could look something like this: you get in touch with a sane entity like the EFF, and ask them if they’d be interested in testing ♡ in a US court of law. Together with their very capable legal counsel you set up the case in some way that protects you from financial ruin whatever the outcome of the test, set the stage (Y sues X over doing Z with Y’s ♡ work). If things go well, the court processes the case, declares that Y is wrong and X is right, and any person X is perfectly safe to Z a work declared as ♡.

        Future attempts by some evil real Y troll to sue some other X over Z, will then summarily be dismissed with a “in Y vs X, X was found right to Z ♡ – go fsck yourself, troll” (however that would be phrased in more courteous language is here left unsaid).

  • Many thanks, Nina, for Copyheart, Sita Sings the Blues, Mimi and Eunice, Intellectual Poopery and your amazing quilts.

    I still thinks the LAL (licence art libre) would have suited your work fine but I quite understand that getting out the law, so to speak, is a valid option for an artist. Richard Stallman and Eben Moglen spent many hours talking to people who didn’t understand GNU-GPL, asking them not for money in case of infrigement but to respect the licence.

    I have a silly question: I know how to type a black heart in Unicode (U+2665) or in HTML but how to type a heart with just the outline, no fill-in colour?

  • py

    what’s the shortcut OR ASCII code for this ?

  • David Conrad

    How is this different from Creative Commons? Or from placing the work in the public domain? I think the name is cute, but this is rather confusing.

    If I see something that is copyhearted, I can copy it. Fine, I get that.

    Can I sell copies of it for a profit?

    Can I use it to create derivative works?

    Can I sell my derivative works that include it?

  • K

    Why not just use “<3″ as a substitute? They’ve been using “(c)” as a substitute for “©” since the 80s.

  • J’aime, cela me libère et me fait espérer.

  • Happy Idea, we’ve got something very close in france since many years, it’s call C Reaction. It’s based on the idea every creactions are like the ressources in the world : free first and next stole by copyright or copyleft. In fact copy left like creative commons is a bad joke, because it don’t care of the time limit: for example someone sharing in creative commons and next wanted to sell only, users will be in illegaly halh and not too, that the crazy point of creative commons with time limite. So happy to now about that ideas that love can’t be under law. For me it’s the essential point in the copyleft : knowledge share can’t be stop by laws.

    Love & Peace.
    ed end

    Here is the idea
    http://www.archive.org/details/TheIdeaByBertholdBartosch1932 (what about copyheart and the domain public ?)
    Here is a C Reaction licence in english
    And in french cause it could be not well translated ;)

  • Francisco d’Anconia

    I love the heading of this blog ! too Funny

    Creative Commons seems very similar

  • Arthus Belliqueux

    Hey, great initiative.

    Might be worth mentionning the unicode for this character is 2661.

    Maybe you could come up with some directives as how you can type this character in various OS.

    On Gnu/Linux, you usually have to Ctrl+Shift+U, then type the unicode. (2661 for the white heart suit)

    You might want to check decodeunicode.org for more unicode references.


  • Anonymous

    What about attribution? Should we be required (legally or ethically) to credit the authors whose works we share?

  • […] in other words, as animator Nina Paley says, sharing is an act of love. All that Judaism asks for in return is attribution, so the chain of transmission is […]

  • libreuniverse

    until copyright is abolished, i prefer a legal tool to get permission. it’s bad enough that artists put music on jamendo and then remove (or change!) the license, so there’s no evidence that you have a right to keep remixing or even copying it.
    (that’s only a little better than fraud.)

    but let’s say that i didn’t care about a “real” permit, only a “go ahead” from the author. one advantage of cc being *formal* over “informal” formalities like kopimi and copyheart:

    * cc remembers to tell you if the author is ok with commercial use
    * cc remembers to tell you if remix is ok
    * copyheart doesn’t even hint at either.

    so lots of people who hate these formalities leave the recipient (who knows the author intends to be generous, but doesn’t want to step on any toes, or get sued, or have to take things offline) will see copyheart and simply know less about what’s allowed.

    that’s not progress, it’s a practical step backwards towards all rights reserved. i totally appreciate the sentiment behind copyheart. it’s the logic behind it that’s lacking. despite the fact that people can just include these permissions in their copyheart/kopimi line, more/most people will forget or fail to.

  • Ally

    Cute idea, but am I crazy to think this is kind of missing the point of copyright? Namely, that a copyright protects ownership (and therefore $$). I see the argument that the more people want to copy something, the more valuable it is, but David ihas s point: in theory, a person could copy the “copy hearted” work, maybe make a minor change, copyright the “new” work, and sell it. The maker of the original (copy hearted) piece would have no rights. What am I missing here? My rose-tinted glasses?

    • So? It’s not like he’s taking the money from your pocket, besides, if they can get someone to pay for something that is widely and freely available on the Internet, they have to be doing something valuable (be that shipping physical CDs to people with slow Internet connections, offering large, high-quality printed posters or whatever).

      The only issue I see is if it were possible for them to change the license and then sue *the original creator*. But I don’t think any judge would be that stupid? I mean, with publishing date and everything…

  • Ally

    *David has a point.

    Can’t wait to be flamed for typos.

  • Anonymous

    Did you copy this from kopimi?

  • Inspired

    So… what happens later in the future when this becomes a hit and some derp decides to coypright/trademark the copyheart? D8

  • Robert

    All I can see on this page is place holders where the symbols should be. Using Firefox 19.0, I’ve tried changing the character encoding for the page many times, but none I’ve tried seems to work. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can view this page as intended? Thanks.

  • […] Ça fait un petit moment que l’idée me trottait en tête: mettre un nom sur une licence qui n’en est juridiquement pas une et qui dirait en fait « copiez-moi, faites en ce que vous voulez et ne cherchez pas plus loin ». Évidemment, moult autres libristes ont pensé à ça, et notamment Nina Paley, créatrice du ♡copyheart. […]

  • […] ♡ Copying is an act of love. Please copy and share. […]

  • Samson

    Are you confusing copying with advertising? Your motive, to avoid obscurity, implies you want more publicity. So you are welcome to give your product away for free. But authors whose product is already valuable don’t need advertising, and they may want remuneration for their creative works.

  • Adam

    One thing: The Smiley is trademarked in over 100 countries and brings in $100+ million a year for the trademark holder. The holder even sued Wal-Mart over their use of the logo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smiley

  • nobody important

    Just deleting my RSS feed to this site. I like copyheart, but it’s years now. Copyheart is the simplest form for expressing an intellectual free-love.

  • I love this concept! Creative Commons got my heart out of Copyright hell, but this is truly the idea for which I’ve been looking.

    Thank you for being bold and brave and understanding the beauty of freedom.