General Question

DigitalBlue's avatar

What are the commercial laws for things like vintage ads, posters, and art?

Asked by DigitalBlue (7102points) July 21st, 2012

For example, could someone make a piece of art using a part or the whole of a vintage ad, and then sell that art, or does someone most likely own the rights to old graphic advertisements?
What about reproductions or replicas? Is it illegal to sell prints of famous pieces of art? Could someone take something like this and slap it on a t-shirt and sell those?

I know that I often see posters, prints, calendars, items with famous art pieces mass produced and sold – how does that work, legally?

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6 Answers

marinelife's avatar

It depends on who holds the copyright or if they are in the public domain. If the latter, you can use them at will.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@marinelife thought so, thank you!

anartist's avatar

Just be glad @DarkScribe is not around to respond to this question—
see a similar discussion here

DigitalBlue's avatar

@anartist that is exactly why I typically avoid stock photos. Hah.

anartist's avatar

I just go through all the wikimedia commons and look for copyright free material, or go to U.S. national agencies and museums and do the same thing. You’d be surprised what Library of Congress has available, especially if they did a recent show on it.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@anartist thanks, that’s really helpful.

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