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Posters based on film posters but made with original artwork

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:23 pm
by paulsix
Hi, I'm a wedding photographer and artist. I have recently made a few posters for my wedding clients. Each poster was based on a film poster, one of them very specifically copied the layout of the poster, the other fairly closely. Both used the films titles, and one did have some text taken from the original poster, such as - directed by..., produced by... and the actual names of the director and producer

But neither poster I made used any artwork from the original posters, all photography used was my photography of my clients wedding day.

Am I blatently infringing copyright law here?

Any help would be gratefully received.


Posted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:11 am
by AndyJ
Hi Paul,
It sounds from what you have described as though, with the exception of the credits and title part, you have just copied the idea rather than the actual content of the original poster. On that basis you should be OK with this. The titles of films on their own are not subject to copyright so again although they may form a substantial part of the original poster, including them is probably not going to amount to infringement. For the future I would advise against using the actual credits from the film, just to put more distance between your recreations and the original. However I think it would be permissible to use the wrong credits, ie ones taken from another film.
All of that is based on the fundamental copyright law. But beyond this is the exception for the purposes of parody, pastiche and caricature which I am fairly sure would cover what you want to do. This is known as a fair dealing exception, meaning that the amount of the original which is re-used must be the minimum necessary to achieve the parody etc. And unlike some of the other fair dealing exceptions, this one does not require an acknowledgement of the original. The reason I say I am 'fairly sure' this would apply is because this is a new exception and as yet we have no decisions by the courts from which we can tell how they interpret the words caricature, parody and pastiche.
On a separate note, as a professional photographer, I am sure you are aware that if you have used the photographs of any actual clients, you need their permission before you exhibit these posters in public. This is because commissioned wedding photographs usually fall within the meaning of 'private and domestic purposes' which means that the person commissioning the photographs has a moral right to privacy, under section 85(1):
85 Right to privacy of certain photographs and films.
(1) A person who for private and domestic purposes commissions the taking of a photograph or the making of a film has, where copyright subsists in the resulting work, the right not to have—
  • (a) copies of the work issued to the public,

    (b) the work exhibited or shown in public, or

    (c) the work communicated to the public;
and, except as mentioned in subsection (2), a person who does or authorises the doing of any of those acts infringes that right.
The reference here to subsection (2) only applies where something falling within subsection (1) amounts to incidental inclusion, or is subject to Crown or Parliamentary copyright.

Posted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:53 am
by paulsix
Hi Andy, thanks so much for your advise. It's perfect.

I should have said that the posters were infact made for the clients, and so they are not for public exhibition but for private use by teh clients who appear in the poster.

That said I would want to use them for marketing my service, and always stipulate this in my clients contracts before their wedding day; asking permission to do so.

I totally take your point about the credits, and to be honest did think it would be a lot clearer if I didn't use the actual credits, so form now on will not.

Thanks again, really really helpful.

All the best