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Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:20 pm
hi, my friend has started printing image out off google framing them nd selling them on ebay what are the copyright details about them, (exc ebay rules) what grounds does he have, the pictures contain no copyright images or signs, they are just simple images of say superman on a white background, is he aloud to sell them on ebay and not get done. i dont want him to get into trouble if he isnt allowed. (not taking into account the eby rules just the rules from maybe the possible owners if there is any. thanks
Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:00 am
Unless copyright has expired (i.e. the creator of the images died over 70 years ago), this is a copyright infringement.
What you friend is doing is unauthorised reproduction of copyright work. The fact that there is no copyright notice is immaterial - there is no requirement for the copyright owner to mark his/her work with a notice.
Of course there is a chance that the copyright owner will not notice or not care, but if your friend has not asked permission, there is a good chance he will be facing legal action if discovered.
Typically, when discovered, the copyright owner will take action to have the work removed from sale (i.e. require the infringer to remove the items and take out an injunction if he does not). If your friend makes any sales they will also want to recover any revenue they are due (royalties) from the sale of the images (this will typically be based on a fee per copy sold and may be more than the value your friend sold them for). On top of this they will of course want to make a claim to recover any legal costs they incurred whilst taking action to stop the infringement.
Copyright infringements are normally a matter for civil law, but acts of copyright piracy have also been subject to criminal prosecution: the maximum penalty a judge can hand out is 10 years in jail and unlimited fines - the typical sentence is 6 months in jail and/or a £5,000 fine.