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collage copyright

Posted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 4:45 pm
by nthorneycro1
hi, i am a printed textile designer with a collage approach. In my works I have used portrait photographs of Victorian women, and also photographs from the late 18th/19th C of gothic architecture that I scanned in from books. I have manipulated the images and merged with my own artworks, paint textures, digital effects etc. what are the copyright issues i am faced with? If i have merged the images with new content of original artworks, are they now my own artworks? please help!

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:46 am
by AndyJ
Hi nthorneycro
It sounds as if your source material is probably out of copyright by now if it is from the nineteenth century or earlier, and so you can freely use it to create collages.
And even in the unlikely event that a particular image is still covered by copyright, for instance because although it was created many years ago, it was only first published less than 50 years ago, since you would only be using a part of the overall image, that may well not amount to a substantial part, which is what the law would see as infringement.
16 The acts restricted by copyright in a work.
(1)The owner of the copyright in a work has, in accordance with the following provisions of this Chapter, the exclusive right to do the following acts in the United Kingdom—
  • (a) to copy the work;
    (b) to issue copies of the work to the public;
    (e) to make an adaptation of the work or do any of the above in relation to an adaptation;
and those acts are referred to in this Part as the “acts restricted by the copyright”.
(2) Copyright in a work is infringed by a person who without the licence of the copyright owner does, or authorises another to do, any of the acts restricted by the copyright.
(3) References in this Part to the doing of an act restricted by the copyright in a work are to the doing of it—
  • (a) in relation to the work as a whole or any substantial part of it, and
    (b) either directly or indirectly;
and it is immaterial whether any intervening acts themselves infringe copyright.
As for your own designs, these will qualify for copyright due to your own creative input. As you are working in the textile industry, it might also be worth the extra expense of registering your designs so that you can more easily protect your work from plagiarism. You can find details about how to do this here.

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:43 pm
by nthorneycro1
thank you, sterling reply!! much appreciated! :D