Own postcard website

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Postcard Dealer
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Own postcard website

Post by Postcard Dealer »

Hi,
I wish to start my own e-commerce website. I would like to sell secondhand vintage and modern postcards from both the UK and other countries. They would range from 1900 through to 2015. They would be a mixture of used and postally unused postcards. In order to sell the postcards I need to display both the front and rear images of the postcard. Although the rear of the used postcards will be visible I would not be recording any personal details on the website. Can I legally do all of this?. I have no intention of altering or copying (Other than to depict the postcard being sold) the images or trademarks. I just want to show the original cards for the purpose of sales. If I can do this do I have to acknowledge the copyright holder in anyway?. Would there be specific wording that I could put on my website?. I was looking at the World of Books and Oxfam websites who show images of their secondhand books relating to a large number of different copyright holders.
I Would really appreciate your help and guidance
Thank you
Tony
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AndyJ
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Re: Own postcard website

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Tony,

There shouldn't be any major problems with what you want to do.

Displaying small thumbnail images in order to sell the postcards would not infringe copyright as this is permitted by section 63 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. You don't need to credit the copyrigt holder in these circumstances. Technically speaking that exception only covers artistic works, so portraying the non-image side is not covered, but I think that the spirit of the exception (to ensure a potential buyer has all the relevant information before making a purchase) is going to apply nonetheless.

However, care still needs to be taken over displaying the non-image side of used postcards for other reasons: the message (text) will in many cases be subject to copyright as an original literary work unless the message is of the most banal 'Wish you were here' type, and the name and address of the recipient could well be personal data which is subject to the Data Protection Act 2018, so it is probably best to blur these out in any advertising shots. I don't think you need to put any specific disclaimers on your website, but be prepared to take down any image if someone claiming to be the copyright owner contacts you to complain. This is highly unlikely to happen, I suggest, because the images will not be on the website permanently, and this method is generally recognised as a standard way of conducting online trade in second hand items (cf Ebay).
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
Postcard Dealer
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Re: Own postcard website

Post by Postcard Dealer »

Hi Andy,
Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to respond to my question so quickly. Thank you for sharing your expert knowledge. I will now amend my business plan and follow your guidance.
Kind regards
Tony :D
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