Can I reproduce an old poster

Advice for those new to the concepts of copyright
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Silondon
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Can I reproduce an old poster

Post by Silondon »

Dear Forum, I hope someone can help.

I have an original poster dated 1929 by the artist Horace Taylor, his name being on the poster. It was for the Southern Railway and I have never been able to find this poster reproduced on poster forums or with sellers in the forty years I have owned it. I think it is quite rare and I would like to reproduce the poster and sell copies at different sizes online. Horace Taylor (who died in 1934) is best known for his London Transport posters, notably his 'Brightest Best' underground poster, which was voted Londoners' all-time favourite Tube poster in the London Transport Museum. Would I face any legal issues if I went ahead, scanned the original and produced copies for sale?

Many thanks for any advice you can provide.
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AndyJ
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Re: Can I reproduce an old poster

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Silondon,

Copyright in the illustration on the poster will have been based on the lifetime of the artist, even though if he was a full time emplyee of the Southern Railway, they would have actually owned the copyright. Copyright (today) lasts for the lifetime of the author or artist plus 70 years from the end of the year in which they died. Since Horace Taylor died in 1934 and more than 70 years have elapsed since his death, the poster is no longer protected by copyright and you can freely reproduce it and sell the copies.
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
Silondon
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Re: Can I reproduce an old poster

Post by Silondon »

Hi Andy,
Thank you for the prompt reply. Grateful for the info. as issues with copyright appear desperately complicated to those outside of the area. Good to get some sound advice.
Kind regards,
Simon
Silondon
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Re: Can I reproduce an old poster

Post by Silondon »

One other question Andy, As I will be reproducing my original copy, could I include a line of copy on the prints to protect myself and deter others from re-re-producing the poster I own?
Thanks,
Simon
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AndyJ
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Re: Can I reproduce an old poster

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Simon,

No, I'm afraid that since copyright has lapsed, and you are not creating a new work, anyone can reproduce the posters, even when that's based on your copy. Just scanning a work and saving it in digital format is not sufficiently creative to lead to a new copyright coming into existence.
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
Silondon
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Re: Can I reproduce an old poster

Post by Silondon »

Thanks Andy. Good to know.

Many thanks,

Simon
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