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  1. #1
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    business cards and images...

    I have an odd question. Is it legal to use copyrighted images to advertise your business on your own business cards? I personally would think not, but would like to clarify. For instance a gentlemen stopped in our business today giving out cards for his wrap-around sign business (the kind that advertises on vehicles). And on his business card are two clearly ripped off images...you can actually see them on the website:

    www.pcsgraphix.com

    when all the vehicles are done slideshowing into the frame there comes the image that is on the business card which has a slice of "Isabella and the pot of basil" by john white alexander on the right side and unfortunately i cannot make out who the left portrait is by.

    And also one of their main vehicles has spiderman on the truck flinging a web. Wouldn't they have to pay money to display that image on their truck ? Or even display a likeness?

    I may be totally in the wrong but my spidey sense says that im hitting a bullseye.

    -TeT-
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  3. #2
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    Yes, it's illegal to use copyrighted images or trademarked likenesses on a business card, or on a van. It should also be illegal to produce business cards as grotesque as that one.

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  5. #3
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    BI hit the nail on the head with the word "grotesque".
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  6. #4
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    lol. So should I tell this guy he is in Deep shizz or should I just report him ?
    Keep your dream alive - Feed it daily!

    "The true essence of swordsmanship is like the willow blowing in the gentle breeze" - Tesshu (someday my art will be like this)

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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tetsuo View Post
    lol. So should I tell this guy he is in Deep shizz or should I just report him ?
    Do both.
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  8. #6
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    I heard a story once, probably here (or the I-Spot), about a daycare center that decorated it walls with Disney characters. When Disney found out they filed a court order forcing the daycare to paint over the walls removing the Disney characters. Eventually Warner Bros. caught wind of this and painted Bugs and Daffy on the walls where the Disney characters had been.

  9. #7
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    "Isabella and the Pot of Basil" is in the public domain (painted 1897), so no legal problem there, assuming the drawing is of similar vintage (aesthetics are another story).
    Sony and Marvel might have an issue with that Spidey van, though.

    Tristan Elwell
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  10. #8
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    How does public domain work regarding characters like Mickey Mouse or Superman? Will they eventually become public domain?
    Last edited by Bill; August 28th, 2009 at 02:10 PM.

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tetsuo View Post
    unfortunately i cannot make out who the left portrait is by.
    -TeT-
    Maybe Waterhouse? She looks like that model a lot of the pre-raphaelites painted.


    And man, is that one ugly business card!
    Last edited by Katfayheirti; August 28th, 2009 at 02:11 PM.

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  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    How does public domain work regarding characters like Mickey Mouse or Superman? Will they eventuall become public domain?
    Trademark and copyright are two interrelated but distinct areas of IP law. Copyrights expire in a set amount of time, trademarks only do with disuse or if they're not defended and pass into common use. For instance, Edgar Rice Burroughs trademarked Tarzan, so his heirs are able to to maintain a degree of control over the property, even though the copyright on the original novel has expired. Conversely, Sherlock Holmes was never trademarked, so the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle lost all rights to the character when the copyrights expired.
    So, the works featuring Micky Mouse and Superman will eventually become public domain, but the characters won't as long as the trademarks are defended.
    Last edited by Elwell; August 28th, 2009 at 02:26 PM.

    Tristan Elwell
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  14. #11
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    Thank You Tristan.

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