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Cutting pages / images from Books

Posted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:43 pm
by Duncs33

I just wanted to check whether it is legal to cut pages and prints from books I have purchased, frame them and sell them in the UK?

My understanding is that if I own the book which includes copyrighted images, I am entitled to do what I like with the individual pages / images under the exhaustion of rights.

I have no intention to copy or replicate the images in any way.

Can you just confirm if my understanding is correct?

Many Thanks

Posted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:03 pm
by Nick Cooper
Generally speaking there's nothing to stop anyone from breaking up books and magazines for individual pages, and selling them on. Depending on the age of the works in question, the text and/or illustrations may actually be public domain, anyway.

Posted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:47 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Duncs,
Nick is correct. What's more we now have a recent CJEU decision which confirms the exhaustion of rights principle so long as the underlying medium on which the work is carried is not altered. The case is called Art&Allposters v Stichting Pictoright C-419/13. Briefly, Allposters operated a business which purchased legitimate posters of works of art and then via a chemical process, transferred the printed image from the paper backing onto a canvas mount. The court held that this violated the exhaustion principle because a 'new object was created', and that the reproduction right applied to the tangible object into which the copyright work was incorporated.

Posted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:31 pm
by Duncs33
Great, thanks Andy and Nick.

One last question; if I purchase prints from consumer sites i.e. Allposters, Eastart etc, do the same laws apply i.e. can I re-sell these prints? (Again, I would not copy them, just re-sell the original)

Or, can a vendor stipulate what I do with my prints i.e prevent re-sale?

I assume wholesalers will expect you to purchase with the intention to re-sell but just wanted to check position with regards consumer sites.

Thanks again

Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:16 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Duncs,

You should be fine re-selling items which you have bought legitimately. That's what the exhaustion of rights doctrine is intended for. There may be a separate debate about how such goods should be described, either as new or second-hand/pre-owned, but that has nothing to do with copyright.

Occasionally some manufacturers, especially those for 'luxury brands', try to control the after market in their goods because they perceive that the brand image could be damaged if the goods are sold in the 'wrong' market place. But again that has nothing to do with copyright, although that is not to say these companies don't try to use copyright law in this way. A classic example is that of a famous French perfume maker who reports all sales of their products on eBay as being counterfeit, so that eBay is forced to take down the offers, regardless of whether the goods are genuine or not. However I don't think that sort of protectionist behaviour is likely to occur with posters, especially in view of the CJEU ruling in the Art&Allposters case.

Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:21 pm
by Duncs33
Thanks Andy, greatly appreciated!

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:46 pm
by Duncs33
Hi Andy,

Before I found this site I sent an email to Copyright Inquiries who replied and raised an interesting point regarding the All Posters case. I wondered what your thoughts were as they flagged that the images in a book were not intended to be sold in the format of individual images and so perhaps the EOR case does not apply? Do you think this is a valid consideration?

Thanks Duncs

This was their full response:

'The principle of exhaustion referred to in our original advice permits the owner of a copy of a copyright work (such as a book or CD) to re-sell that work to a third party. The copyright owner's rights in the work are said to have been 'exhausted', that is they no longer have the right to authorise or prohibit the resale of that copy of the work.

Therefore, if you own a book of images you can resell that book of images to someone else. As you rightly identify however, the important question is 'are you entitled to resell the images in the book separately?' The recent case of Allposters involved a company purchasing posters from the copyright owners, and then by means of a technological process transferring the ink from the poster to a canvas, and reselling the image as a canvas print instead of a poster. The court ruled that the copyright owner had not intended to offer the work for sale in that format, and that therefore the right to do so had not been exhausted when the original poster had been sold. Copyright permission was therefore required to sell the work as a canvas print instead of as a poster.

The parallel with your example is that the photographers of the images in your book may not have intended to sell the images as separate items, but only within the book. Regrettably we are not able to offer legal advice as to whether and to what degree the principles identified in the Allposters case apply to your particular circumstances, and we would therefore have to recommend that you consult an Intellectual Property lawyer'[/i]

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:47 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Duncs,
My reading of the CJEU's decision in the Allposters case (linked to in an earlier posting on this thread) would not lead me to the same conclusion. The court was asked to interpret Article 4(2) of the InfoSoc Directive in a case where an original work had been altered in the course of activities following the legitimate first sale of the work. In that case there was an added economic factor involved because the value of the works on canvas was significantly greater that the value of the posters.
This is what the CJEU said in their finding (para 46) on the matter of alteration:
Consequently, the consent of the copyright holder does not cover the distribution of an object incorporating his work if that object has been altered after its initial marketing in such a way that it constitutes a new reproduction of that work. In such an event, the distribution right of such an object is exhausted only upon the first sale or transfer of ownership of that new object with the consent of the rightholder.
(my added emphasis)
Your excision of an individual image does not, I think, constitute an alteration of the basic work, namely the photograph. All you would be doing is changing its context so that it no longer appeared in a book. The UK courts have previously held that the moral right for an author's work not to be treated in a derogatory manner (contrary to section 80 CDPA) is confined to things done to the work itself, and not to how the complete and unaltered work is placed in relation to external works or circumstances. Thus, drawing moustache on the Mona Lisa would be unacceptable but hanging the complete painting on the wall of a public convenience would not (at least in the UK; French law is somewhat different!). On the basis of the caselaw on derogatory treatment, I think there is a strong argument for saying that the CJEU's finding would not extend to a situation where neither the work itself nor material upon which it was supported, was altered in any way.
While you could certainly follow the advice of obtaining the opinion of your own IP lawyer, I suspect that this might be a costly way of finding there is no definitive answer on this.

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 7:03 pm
by Duncs33
Hi Andy - thank you so much for your help. Kind regards Duncs