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Re: Recycling greeting cards - copyright violation?


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Posted by M Arthur Auslander on May 30, 2002 at 00:28:37:

In Reply to: Recycling greeting cards - copyright violation? posted by Carrie on May 29, 2002 at 01:05:21:

: I buy greeting cards and postcards with works of art on them (some public domain, some by living artists) and attach them to decorated plaques.

: Usually the original art takes up less that 1/4 of the overall surface but it is the actual, unaltered (I don't paint over them or alter them in any way) greeting or post card, and I affix the artist credits, date painted, and copyright information to the back of the plaque.

: Is this considered a derivative work requiring further royalty payments to the artist (or greeting card/postcard publisher, for that matter) or, since I purchased the cards and royalties for that purchase have been paid, am I free to sell these without fear of legal reprisals?

: Could this be considered to be akin to a frame shop that purchases mass-produced posters and them sells them framed at a mark-up? Do frame shops pay royalties on their mark-ups or is the copyright obligation satisfied at the point of purchase?

: Do greeting card and postcard publishers imply restrictions on resale on the cards they sell?

: I'm not sure on how to interpret the law on this.

: Any help would be much appreciated, so thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

: Cheers,

: CR

Dear Carrie,

We have registered copyrights on reproductions of works of art that are in the public domain.
There is a complex set of tests that have to be met to prove infringement of a copyright. If you were sued the court could be sympathic as to the amount of damages. Without taking professsional resonsibility I believe you are at risk.

Our Reality Check® might be able to find a way to protect yourself from being open to infingement liability.

M. Arthur Auslander

Auslander & Thomas-Intellectual Property Law Since 1909
505 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018
212-594-6900, fax 212-244-0028, aus@auslander.com
ELAINE's Workshop®
E arly L egal A dvice I s N ot E xpensive™
Reality Check®





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