Selling framed vintage magazines and books

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Ziner
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Selling framed vintage magazines and books

Post by Ziner » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:10 pm

Hello

I have been trying to find information about this but am struggling! I would like to sell vintage magazines and books (entire magazines and books so they are not altered or torn up) in new bespoke frames. These would include more recent magazines from the 1990s and early 2000s. I would be selling on one of or a combination of : ebay, Etsy, my own website, at stalls/pop up shops.

I am unsure if there is a copywright issue because it could be seen as creating a ‘new’ product or altering the original product by framing it to sell on.

Does anybody have any advice about this please?

Many thanks in advance

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AndyJ
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Re: Selling framed vintage magazines and books

Post by AndyJ » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:51 pm

Hi Ziner,

You should be perfectly OK doing this. As you are not copying anything, copyright law is not really engaged. There was a court case five years ago known as Allposters (Art&Allposters v Stichting Pictoright C - 419/13) in which the Court of Justice of the European Union came up with a slightly odd judgment concerning a related issue, but the facts of that case do not match yours and so you do need to worry about it. What you want to do is covered by the doctrine of exhaustion of rights. With respect to copyright this doctrine is enshrined in Article 4 of the Information Society Directive 2001/29/EC

The Allposters case involved the company Art&Allposters who sell licensed reproductions of works of art (amongst other products) as posters. One of the their offerings involved taking a legitimate, non-infringing paper poster and by a chemical process, lifting the ink layer off the paper substrate and transfering it on to a canvas backing, creating something which more closely resembled the texture of an oil painting. A Dutch copyright collection society complained, saying that the artists it represented had not authorised this 'new' use of their works, and the CJEU upheld the complaint. The Court's reasoning was that the original work consisted of the art itself and the substrate on which it was printed, and that removing the original substrate (the paper) effectively created an adaptation of the licensed work and this was something which only the rightholders (the artists) could authorise.
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

Ziner
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Re: Selling framed vintage magazines and books

Post by Ziner » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:34 pm

Hi Andy

Thank you very much for your advice it is much appreciated!

ATMOSBOB
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Re: Selling framed vintage magazines and books

Post by ATMOSBOB » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:33 am

I'm not sure about Exhaustion of Rights. Doesn't that only apply to the original product category?

What if the photographer had sold rights to the cover image to a gallery to sell framed prints exclusively? Magazine cover rights are one thing and framing rights another.

I used to sell my images as postcards and I still do licence them for that purpose. I have also licenced some of those images for exclusive use on confectionery and biscuit packaging. I don't think anyone is allowed to buy my postcards and put them on confectionery packs. A package is a different right.

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Re: Selling framed vintage magazines and books

Post by AndyJ » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:08 am

Hi ATMOSBOB,

You are right with your first statement that exhaustion of rights applies to original works. In this case the original work is the magazine cover, rather than the underlying photograph or artwork. The underlying work is not being copied or republished other than in a form which the author had already authorised, namely on the cover. The framing bit is not relevant. The courts have previously held that framing an image does not create an adaptation of the work (that was in a case over moral rights and derogatory treatment). So since neither the underlying work nor the authorised use of it on the cover of the magazine involves copying, none of the rights* which belong to the copyright owner are infringed.

Unfortunately when you talk about packaging being a different right, it is not a legal right (under copyright law) just a limitation of the licence. For example your licences might differentiate between black and white, and colour postcards. Again that would be a local term of the licence and if it was breached by the licensee, you would be able to bring a claim under contract law, rather than copyright law, against your licensee. Since Ziner is not a party to the contract between the photographer and the magazine publishers, the photographer cannot sue Ziner under contract law, even if, say, the photographer had stipulated extremely narrow publication terms (eg single print run, sales restricted to the UK, no digital reproduction rights etc). What the photographer cannot do is bind the publisher by terms restricting the use of the magazine after it had been sold. ie where the exhaustion of rights kicks in.


* here's how the IPO website describes those rights:
"Copyright prevents people from:

copying your work
distributing copies of it, whether free of charge or for sale
renting or lending copies of your work
performing, showing or playing your work in public
making an adaptation of your work
putting it on the internet"
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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