Album artwork put in frames?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Album artwork put in frames?

Post by Jaykal »

Im a huge music lover & Recently i have been getting my favorite album covers and resizing them in photoshop and making high quality prints and putting them in frames in putting them on the wall. I had a few friends who seen them and really liked them and wanted one also. Is there anyway i can sell this or no? How likely are the music labels going to find out about this because i know they own most cover arts for albums. And what are the copyright laws and penalties for this? But also arent the cover arts owned to where there also tied to the music as well? So if i just sold them as a print and in a frame isnt that not duplicating the original object use as a Cover identify the object as a CD of music? I dont know the rules and copyright laws to well so bare with me if this is an easy question but thanks.
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Post by AndyJ »

Hi JayKal,
As I think you are aware, copyright will exist for virtually all vinyl and CD album covers. There is copyright for the artwork and also for any text such as liner notes, which is separate from the music itself. And as you correctly identify, this copyright is most likely to be owned by the record company which produced the record. Copying the entirety of the cover without permission would almost certainly amount to infringement under UK law. It is arguable that in the USA this might amount to Fair Use.

As long as you only do this for friends and family, it is not very likely that you will get caught. However once you start doing it commercially and need to advertise, the chances of the record companies becoming aware increase considerably. The most likely initial action would be for them to send a DMCA takedonwn notice to any site like eBay which you were selling through, and to the company hosting your own website if you had one. If you desisted at that point, that could well be the end of the matter. However if you continued to try and sell your copies, you could expect to be sued for damages, and if your operation had grown large enough, you could, theoretically face the possibility of a criminal charge.

If you want to do this legally, why not contact the record companies concerned, and apply for permission. There will no doubt be a fee involved, but you may be able to offset this in the pricing of your work.
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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