General Copyright Information
When original works, be it artistic, literary, musical, are first created, the copyright in the work immediately becomes the property of the author (it is considered “intellectual property”). Federal copyright law gives the copyright owner exclusive rights to reproduce the work, create derivative works and give permission for others to use, copy or modify the work.
Trademarks are another kind of intellectual property. A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. Eric Carle’s name and his signature logotype were trademarked and are the property of Eric Carle and only he is permitted to use or give permission to others to use these trademarks. For more information about copyright law you might be interested in visiting the following two web sites:
In addition, there is the following book, published by Nolo Press:
“The Copyright Handbook: How to Protect and Use Written Works” by Attorney Stephen Fishman.
Permission requests and guidelines
If you are planning to reproduce, record or duplicate Eric’s work or create materials based on his work, you must first receive permission to do so. You must also receive permission to produce a performance, story time program or workshop based on or about Eric’s work (except if the program is a classroom exercise, one-time play or story time program in a school or library.)
At the Eric Carle Studio, we receive many requests for permission for educational and personal use of Eric Carle’s work that we are happy to accommodate, as long as the materials created are not in any way being sold or distributed.
These requests include the following kinds of projects:
Request to create a MURAL for a school or library
Request to create a QUILT based on Eric Carle’s illustrations
Request to include a LINK to the Official Eric Carle Web site for use in a school project or educational web site
Request to PHOTOCOPY Eric’s work
We have created guidelines for the abovementioned categories that we hope will be helpful. All other requests must be submitted for approval to firstname.lastname@example.org or via snail mail at PO Box 485, Northampton, MA 01060. Please mark your submission “Request for Permission” on the outside of your envelope.
PLEASE NOTE: ANY USE THAT INVOLVES THE CREATION OF MATERIALS BASED ON ERIC CARLE’S WORKS, OR WHICH MAKE REFERENCE TO HIS WORK, IN PRINTED OR RECORDED FORMAT, AND/OR FOR DISTRIBUTION OR SALE, MUST BE SUBMITTED FOR REVIEW ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS.
Printed or published materials
Any internet use (we are very careful about the use and distribution of digital images and tend not to allow for internet use)
Educational materials for the classroom
Performances and productions that charge admission or that are performed more than once (One-time-only in-school/classroom performances excluded)
Storytime programs that charge admission or are being offered on an ongoing basis
Art workshops that charge admission or are being offered on an ongoing basis
If you are writing from a school or library and you are interested in creating a mural based on Eric Carle’s illustrations, you may refer to the guidelines below. Please also send along details about your mural design for our review. In order for us to consider your request we will need the following information about your mural project.
We would like to know:
- the size of the mural
- who will be painting the mural (students, parents, artists?)
- other features of the mural, including other images, text, or characters from other books/authors
Any additional information will help us to determine the appropriate grant of permission.
In your design, please adhere to the following guidelines:
- We prefer that book cover images are used for murals rather than images from inside the book
- We do not allow for characters from different books to interact with one another; characters must be shown as they appear in the book
- Characters and images may not be cropped or altered, nor may they overlap with other characters/images
Please send a drawing of the proposed mural layout to PO Box 485, Northampton, MA 01060 (or via e-mail to email@example.com) and mark your submission "Mural Request."
The following is an excerpt from Eric Carle’s Design Philosophy. Please use this as a guideline for your mural design before you send a proposal.
"...I have a strongly held philosophy about design. Part of this philosophy I have learned as a young man under the tutelage of a wise and demanding teacher, the other part I have developed over the years since. My aim in design is to simplify and refine, be logical and be harmonious. One of the important elements in this concept is the use of white or "negative" space. These uncluttered areas support and enhance the image. The typeface, too, is important. I use as few typefaces and sizes as possible. The range of beautiful typefaces available, both old and new, is almost endless; the choices are personal. I prefer the Bodoni/Walbaum family of serifed typefaces and the Frutiger, News Gothic and Gill San families for san serifs. Most important of all are my characters; from caterpillar to firefly, they must remain true to themselves. They cannot be altered, taken out of context or mixed-up with each other. Their placement is critical and must be considered with care and deliberation."
You may be surprised to know that creating a quilt based on the artwork from Eric Carle’s picture books is a common request, and Eric’s books have even been featured in “Quilting Arts Magazine” as objects of inspiration for quilters. It seems that the bold collage style of Eric’s illustrations have created some very successful crossovers into the quilting world. A number of years ago, an Eric Carle inspired quilt won First Place, and Best In Show at the Nevada State Fair and went on to compete for a national title as well.
While you may create a quilt based on Eric Carle’s work, you may only do so for your own personal use and may not distribute patterns of your quilt, or make duplicates of your quilt for distribution or sale. Also, as a courtesy to Eric, please send us a photograph of your quilt for our files to PO Box 485, Northampton, MA 01060 (or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org). Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.
If you are a school or library or a college student, you are welcome to link directly to the index page of the Official Eric Carle Web Site at www.eric-carle.com for use on the web site at your school or library.
Please send the URL for your web site to the Eric Carle Studio at email@example.com for our records.
Please note that the Eric Carle Studio retains the right to have the link removed at our discretion.
Photocopiers are, perhaps, one of the most prevalent threats to copyright protected materials today. But all photocopying is not necessarily an unlawful act. Copyright laws allow for people to use portions of copyrighted material under "fair use". This includes photocopying one copy of an article or a small portion of a book for personal (non commercial) use.
Children’s picture books fall into a category called "Special Works" which has its own set of guidelines. Photocopying of Special Works is limited to no more than ten percent of the total text of the book or no more than two published pages including illustrations; anymore than this constitutes infringement. All photocopied material must contain the copyright information located on the information page of the book.
Using photocopies of copyrighted material to create games and charts, however, is a different story. Using someone elsešs work in a project such as this requires prior consent of the copyright owner, in this case Eric Carle. We do keep our eye out for copyright infringement and remedy the situation as necessary. Typically if there is no commercial value to the material using Eric Carlešs images or text, we grant permission (even retroactively) to those who wish to use it free of charge. If money is being generated by the viewing or sales of infringing materials, legal action may be sought.