Winnie the Pooh 1926 classic book

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SJSBY
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Winnie the Pooh 1926 classic book

Post by SJSBY »

Hi
Please could you advise if it is ok to use Winnie the Pooh images from the classic book to use for commercial purposes? I understand it is out of copyright (not tigger or the Disney version etc ) . I saw that it’s ok in the US but not the U.K. until 2027 and wondered if it means I can’t sell anything I hand make with prints I have purchased ? I am based in the U.K.
thank you
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AndyJ
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Re: Winnie the Pooh 1926 classic book

Post by AndyJ »

Hi

If you are based in the UK (or indeed anywhere outside the USA) then the text and illustrations from the Winnie the Pooh books remain in copyright and reproduction of either without permission is not permitted. The illustrations were created by E H Shepard who died in March 1976 and so copyright in his work won't come out of copyright until 1 January 2047, that is to say, 70 years from the end of the year of his death.

However, if you have purchased licensed prints of his illustrations you are permitted to sell them on in a different form (for instance, framed) due to something known as the doctrine of the exhaustion of rights. This wouldn't allow you to make copies of the prints. Just be very careful that the prints are properly licensed, and not something made in the USA by someone exploiting the situation there where, as you say, the original book is now in the public domain. That status is due to the historical legal situation in the USA concerning copyright and not something which British or European law recognises as applicable here, since both Milne and Shepard were British.
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
SJSBY
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Re: Winnie the Pooh 1926 classic book

Post by SJSBY »

Thank you for your quick reply and explanation. That’s great . I just need to find out how to tell if they are licensed or not . So just for clarity . If I buy the prubts from a licensed company , I am within my rights to hand make something with the images and sell ? Do I need to mention the licensed company o bought them from when selling ?
Thank you again . Really appreciated
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AndyJ
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Re: Winnie the Pooh 1926 classic book

Post by AndyJ »

Hi again,

If the prints are made under licence I would expect that to be stated somewhere, either on the prints themselves or on the advertising/ packaging material. The lack of a copyright licence notice would make me suspicious about their legality in the UK.

And yes, assuming they are legit prints, once you have purchased them they are your property and you can adapt them as you please. The only thing I suggest that you should be wary about is how you then sell the products you make from the prints. The words Winnie the Pooh are a registered trade mark in the UK for goods in, amongst other things, Class 16, namely "Paper, paper articles and cardboard articles, cardboard, printed matter, books, bookbinding materials, photographs, stationery, ordinary playing cards; and paintings and artists' materials (other than colours or varnish)" and the trade mark is owned by Disney. Thus you should make it clear in the way you advertise and promote your products that they are based on the Shepard illustrations and have no connection with the Disney films. You can use the words Winnie the Pooh descriptively without infringing the Disney trade mark, but a disclaimer is a sensible precaution as Disney tend to defend their intellectual property rights fairly robustly, even though these prints will have no connection with Disney.
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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