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Displaying disbound book pages

Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:59 pm
by MrsTwosheds
Hello there.

I am about to ask a question and hope that it isn't a really daft one!

I am curating a small community exhibition and need some illustrations quickly and cheaply (this is a very tiny charitable-status affair). I would, ideally, like pictures of lots of hats (for a children's activity) and have an ideal book in my possession (it was published in the 1970s). It is very tatty, and I am very tempted to use the pages of the book (the actual pages, rather than scans or copies). Is this a Bad Thing? I am not, technically 'repurposing' (or am I?).

Is this do-able, or should I look elsewhere? Please help!

Very many thanks for any help or advice.

Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 7:54 pm
by AndyJ
Hi MrsTwosheds,

Nice to hear from you again.

No I don't think what you describe amounts to re-purposing and would not infringe copyright in the pictures. Dismembering a book falls fairly squarely within the exhaustion of rights which occurs once a copyright work has been published or distributed. And then using the dismembered pages or illustrations to form part of a game sounds pretty innocuous. True re-purposing would require some activity such as collaging or similar incorporation so that a new, potentially copyright, work was created.

Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:41 pm
by MrsTwosheds
Hi Andy

Thank you - very nice to be back!

Thank you, too, for your excellent and speedy reply (as always). I wasn't sure whether dismantling a book for a display would, apart from enraging the author, contribute to the likelihood of my being clapped in irons.

I shall get to work at once!

Many thanks again, Sally

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:10 am
by MrsTwosheds
Hello again Andy and all

Sorry to be a pain! Whilst pondering on this, something else has occurred to me (which is, possibly, in a similar vein but might not be) and I would be very grateful for your help, please.

I need to produce some large lettering for my history display, and my original thought was to cut it out of card and paste large-ish strips of very old newspapers (again, the original newspapers, rather than photocopies) on them. The newspapers I had in mind are all 'The Statesman' (Delhi edition) dated 1935.

Do these come under the same category of 'exhaustion of rights' as before, or would this now be (because it's a kind of collage) 'repurposed' and on potentially dodgy ground? Obviously, the completed work will only be getting a two-week airing in a church hall and not sold on for greater glory!

Incidentally, too, are the old adverts (for soap, cars, tea, etc) in these publications under copyright in their own right? Could a manufacturer object to my using them if I were to cut them out for a display?

Apologies again - I do daresay that it will be a relief to you when this flaming exhibition is behind us all! Thank you so much for your invaluable assistance.

Best regards


Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:24 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Sally,

Yes there is a faint possibility that someone could argue this was a re-purposing but I really don't think it is anything to worry about, especially since the publisher of a New Delhi newspaper is unlikely to ever find out, even if they did care, which I doubt. Also depending on the reason why you are using these cuttings, it might very well fall within the fair dealing exceptions either for criticism/review or for quotation.

The adverts attract copyright in the same way as other parts of the newspaper, but they too should fall within a fair dealing exception and / or incidental inclusion. However in both cases I think the main defence would still be the exhaustion of rights. There is prima facie, no copying going on here.

Good luck with the exhibition.

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:27 pm
by MrsTwosheds
Hi Andy

That's great news - thank you for your excellent and very sensible reply, as always.

Whenever I get involved with these exhibition thingies, I seem to spend more time trying to find out about copyright issues of the supporting evidence to illustrate the displays than I do researching the displays themselves!

Huge thanks for being there for all of us!

Best regards