Autographs Copyright HELP NEEDED!

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Autographs Copyright HELP NEEDED!

Post by tempestas »

Hi I'm looking for a little advice on the copyright laws of autographs
I hope someone knows a little about it because I have looked everywhere.

If I printed a photograph of lets say Amy Winehouse then got her to autograph it would I need her permission to sell the autograph at a later date?
If I brought a JLS CD from HMV and then got the band to sign it would i be able to sell it at a later date with out having written permission from them or who ever produces/sells the CD?

A little background on the questions.
I have been collecting autographs from various stars for about 2 years going all over the country and getting photographs, cards, posters, CD's Records and such signed by them all not one at a time i might add I can go up to these stars with at times 10 different things for them to sign and 99% of the time they will happily sign the things for me.

I started selling these things on the dreaded ebay and now ebay are telling me i am breaching copyright laws. They then removed all my items for sale When questioned by me why they had not removed EVERY single signed item on ebay that was for sale they stated and i quote " they MIGHT all have permission from our VERO dept" Now here is the thing there are a few people on there who actually buy their stock from me (same stars etc same photos etc) and I know for a fact they have not got vero permission from Ebay nor the consent of the "star".

They have taken my items down 4 times now and restricted my selling but none of the people who are selling the same things as me are being restricted.

The other thing is there is a forum on Ebay whos members have openly stated that they contact "other sellers" bidders and tell them my autographs are fake, they have also contacted previous buyers of mine and told them my autographs are fake (this is all on an open forum)

So my basic question is: Are "autographs" copywritten to me as they have been obtained by me or can a "star" actually have copyright over an autograph? (remembering that the autographs are handwritten not printed and they are in no way the stars actual signature just scribbles most of the time and they also change over time.)

So sorry for the really long post thank you for reading, any advice greatly received
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Post by Jason10 »

I have been part of several stores selling autographs over the years, and from what I understand you can happily sell the signature as it was done for you and as such you now own that copy of it. That's how it was explained to me. (I'm afraid I'm not too technical about this)

So instead of selling the image its on its the signature that your selling and the image is incidental, I believe fair use covers that.

Ebay has the same problem many online places do of not wanting to have any trouble, so the moment anyone puts a claim on something they tend to take it off to avoid the hassle. Can't help you much there I'm afraid.

As for people claiming your stuff is fake. I don't know what you can do. Maybe complain to ebay, also make sure you get your signings documented, pictures of the stars signing your stuff is always a good way to go. Maybe talk to citizens advice perhaps?

Hope that helps
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