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Illustrated Film Quote Posters - Copyright

Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2022 10:54 am
by DaveHill
Hi everyone!

I am an Illustrator and huge film fan, and i am planning a series of custom-illustrated posters featuring quotes from films.

I am looking for advice on how to make sure I credit the sources correctly and do not infringe on copyright.

The prints will feature the film quotes in big letters, with illustrations of key scenes in the background.

Illustrations will be minimal with subtle references to the films.

Some examples:
- "Get away from her you b*tch!" (Aliens) - Background: inside a spaceship
- "Do do do do dooooooo" (Close Encounters) Background: Devils Mountain with UFOs
- "You're gonna need a bigger boat". (JAWS) Background: a shark fin and a boat in the ocean.

After a bit of research I've concluded (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that I need to credit the sources. For e.g. screenplay writers or authors name.

Do I also need to mention the film title?

As I'll be selling these as A4 and A3 prints, is it OK for me to simply credit the source on the product description? Or would I need to add this credit onto the prints themselves?

Obviously If people are going to frame them there'd be no point as this would be covered...

I've seen prints with "Noone puts baby in the corner" for sale on John Lewis with absolutely no credit anywhere, but perhaps they have permission? It's hard to figure out what to do!

Any advice is very much appreciated.

Many thanks

Re: Illustrated Film Quote Posters - Copyright

Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2022 11:21 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Dave,

The law (section 30) requires a credit "unless this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise". Specific guidance on what this actually means is not given. If you are able to print the credit in the margin (even if it would probably be hidden if the print was framed) that would certainly be sufficient. However if that is impractical because the printable area of the sheet does not include in the margins, then putting the credit on any packaging and advertising would probably be the next best thing. The credit should include the name of the author and the work from which the quote is taken, so, yes, the screenwriter and film title as a minimum. If you intend to put your own copyright notice on the prints (covering your artwork) then that would also be the appropriate place to put the credit.

Re: Illustrated Film Quote Posters - Copyright

Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2022 9:23 am
by DaveHill
Hi Andy

Really appreciate your quick reply!

Thank you for clarifying this, and for all this other information.

On another note regarding these illustrations. What are the restrictions on me illustrating famous characters?

For instance, for an Aliens print: I am intending to draw the Alien Queen, and also the Loader with Ripley inside. These are very distinct characters, but I will be illustrating them, with my own style. Are there any copyright issues with this?

All the best

Re: Illustrated Film Quote Posters - Copyright

Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2022 10:38 am
by AndyJ
Hi Dave,

So long as you don't rely too heavily on any one image, for example a still from the film, as your source, then you should be OK. UK copyright law doesn't really protect the physical appearance of characters per se, and so it would mainly be the copyright in the photograph you would need to be wary about. A single frame from a film is considered to be a photograph (see Section 17(4) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988).