Use, Permission, and Copyright Guidelines

Creators of original works, be it artistic, literary, or musical, are protected by copyright laws. All of Eric’s works, images, and text, as well as his name, are copyright or trademark protected and may not be used or reproduced without permission from the Eric Carle Studio.

This section includes information about copyright law that we hope will be helpful, as well as guidelines for common requests we receive for the use of Eric’s work.

If you are working on a project that in any way incorporates Eric’s books, artwork or name, please review the information in this section. Should you have any questions please contact the Eric Carle Studio by emailing

General Copyright & Trademark Information

When original works, be it artistic, literary, musical, are first created, the copyright in the work immediately becomes the property of the creator (it is considered “intellectual property”). Federal copyright law gives the copyright owner exclusive rights to reproduce the work, create derivative works (work based on the original work) and to 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 for others to use these trademarks.

For more information about copyright law you might be interested in visiting The Library of Congress website There is also a book, published by Nolo Press, “The Copyright Handbook: How to Protect and Use Written Works” by Attorney Stephen Fishman, which might be helpful.

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. This includes production of a performance, story time program or workshop based on or about Eric’s work (exceptions:if the program is a classroom exercise, one-time play or story time program in a school or library.)

Personal and Educational Use

We receive many requests for permission for these types of use of Eric Carle’s work that we are happy to accommodate, as long as the materials created are not being sold or distributed in any way.

Examples of Personal or Educational Use Might Include:

  • Design and paint a MURAL for a school or library
  • Create a QUILT based on Eric Carle’s illustrations
  • Include a LINK to the Official Eric Carle Web site for use in a school project or educational web site
  • To make a PHOTOCOPY Eric Carle’s work

We have created guidelines for each of these categories that we hope will be helpful.

All OTHER requests must be submitted for approval to

Commercial Use

Any use that does not adhere to personal or educational guidelines listed above must be submitted for review. We generally do not allow for any commercial use that includes sale or distribution such as:

  • Video/film recordings
  • Audio recordings
  • 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 interested in creating a mural based on Eric Carle’s illustrations, please send us details about your mural design for review. We will need the following information about your mural project:

  • 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 which will help us in our consideration of permission.


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.

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, please send a photograph of your quilt via e-mail to

Website Linking

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 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 for our records.

We retain 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 not all photocopying is 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 (10%) 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.

However, using photocopies of copyrighted material to create games, charts and other material, is not permitted under “fair use”. Using someone else’s work in such projects 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 Carle’s images or text, we may grant permission (even retroactively).

If the infringement is of commercial nature, where revenue is being generated by sales or viewing of infringing materials, legal action may be taken to stop such infringement and when appropriate, monetary recovery may be considered.

Design Guidelines

In your design, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • We prefer that book cover images are used 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, altered, or overlapped with other characters or images

The following is an excerpt from Eric Carle’s Design Philosophy. Please use this as a guideline for your mural or quilt 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.”

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