Using patterned wallpaper/wrapping paper in card design

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Using patterned wallpaper/wrapping paper in card design

Post by Waddell »


I've recently designed some birthday cards I'd like to sell online. I have used wallpaper and wrapping paper to 'create' my designs; I have an owl with a patterned body and stripy eyes. It's a collage type design. I wondered where I stand in terms of copy right. The wrapping paper is from a well known card shop and the wallpaper is also from a well known household company. I've also used cut-outs from a popular Sunday paper.

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Post by AndyJ »

Hi Waddell,

Assuming that at all times your cards are made out of the original materials, and nothing is actually copied, then you should not have any problems over copyright. This is because of a doctrine called exhaustion of rights, which means that the owner of any copyright has no control over what happens to his works* once they have been sold to a consumer.

And I don't think you need be concerned about either trade marks or passing off.

* There is one small exception to this general state of affairs, which is a copyright owner can object to the derogatory treatment of his work, but I can't see that being at all applicable here as both main products are in effect designed to be cut up by the user, so they do not have any predetermined form or size.
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
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