Labels leaning heavily on multiple other works?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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martin n
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Labels leaning heavily on multiple other works?

Post by martin n » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:37 pm

Hi

I'm new on the forum and I am confused! We are setting up a small company. The labels for our products use different illustrations. The illustrations are based on bits other illustarations and new illustration work. Non of the label is copied from the other works but some bits are very similar. The situation of the label illustration is always different to the other illustarations. Is this likely to infringe?


Your views would be greatly appreciated!

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:31 am

Hi Martin,
The law says that if you copy a substantial part of a copyright work (an illustration or picture in this case) then this could amount to infringement. 'Substantial' is measured in terms of quality rather than quantity, so if you copy the main essence of another image then that could well be seen as infringement. One way of looking at this is to examine why you want to use these other illustrations. If it is because you want the public to associate your label with the original then chances are you will have copied in a substantial way.
Just to take an example. Say one of your labels featured a ladies shoe. If you copy an image of a Laboutin shoe complete with the red sole, then that is substantial; however if you re-draw a generic shoe based on several innocuous designs, taking a feature from one and another feature from a different shoe etc, then that is much less likely to infringe.
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

martin n
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Post by martin n » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:41 am

Thanks for that!

We are taking pieces from other illusterations..a bit like a jigsaw puzzle and putting those pieces together to create something new.
However, our concern is that if a part is recognized by an artist are we then infringing? The larger concern is that the law is subjective in that what amounts to the qualitative part of an illustration can only be decided in court of law, which isn't really helpful when you are trying to create a new work. Unfortunately we haven't all got the talent to create a top class piece of work on a blank sheet or the money to pay royalties for someone else to do it, but many do have the talent to put something original together from lots of good pieces found elsewhere, so, we are left in a kind of limbo unsure whether to go forwards and take unquantifiable risks or change direction.

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