To begin with, just because you paid the artists that does not mean a unique design that actually own design – not (yet) acquired the rights to the design – you only pay for the work, the nature of that license. What you want is the copyright in the design itself, so you can guarantee with this language in the contract with the artist – and yes, get a contract, particularly in this area. There's nothing fancy, and you can dothat is, only that the language also states that the copyright owner to create the design.
Copyright protects artists, writers, composers and creators of "art" to be published or printed materials from the unauthorized publication of their works without their permission. The process of copyright is actually much easier than a patent, and only costs $ 30 in handling fees. Copyright is actually done by the time the work created. And there are nonecessarily all of the requirements for submitting documents, in fact – but it makes it much easier to sue someone, your artwork without your permission. You could sue and probably win even without the submission page, but you should try the opposite, that you came with the first project to establish at this time. The presentation of copyright provides the public record of copyright, so that makes it a lot, which took in case someone claims in court.
Asthe little copyright symbol © – this is not a requirement, but again is another that has a copyright on files and others can not design your copyrighted known without your permission.
But back to the question of the attitude of an artist to work for you. An artist works as an independent contractor (ie non-employees) is the default retain ownership of the copyright unless the copyright is transferred, and this must be in writing. OnOn the other hand, if employees have a design, then created as the employer of copyright.
As compensation if you have the copyright for a person to sue your bad at first people are not easy to track a process, using your design, especially in the T-shirt industry, and then hire a lawyer to pursue them, but if you decide to sue, if your copyright before the accident occurs, then the potential damageHigher Education (statutory damages) and the recovery of legal costs are possible. If you do not register the design before the damage, then the damage is only actual damages (ie lost money because of injury) is limited.
This is just a background on what is in a gray area of law, but it is possible to copyright.gov more information on government website