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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    3

    Default Using Secondhand Books As Part of a Craft Item

    Hi! Hoping you can help me out.

    My wife makes a craft item that uses old, secondhand books as part of the item. Is she likely to run afoul of any copyright laws? She uses parts of pages, illustrations, and the actual book itself in creating the items. I would think Right of First Resale would allow this, but what do I know? That's why I'm here. ;-)

    Thanx!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: Using Secondhand Books As Part of a Craft Item

    The obvious question is whether or not the copyright is still in place. The secondhand nature of the book is irrelevant if the copyright still holds.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    3

    Default Re: Using Secondhand Books As Part of a Craft Item

    Hi cbg! Thanx for the quick reply.

    Some might be still in force, others perhaps not...depending on how old the book is.

    I don't think the secondhand bookstore owner is in any kind of violation by selling the same book. He doesn't pay any kind of royalty when he sells them. I don't see much difference between selling an old book in a resale shop and selling that same book in a reincarnated form as part of a craft item.

    Eh? Nay?

    From wiki:
    "The first-sale doctrine is a limitation on copyright that was recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1908 (see Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus) and subsequently codified in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 109. The doctrine allows the purchaser to transfer (i.e., sell or give away) a particular lawfully made copy of the copyrighted work without permission once it has been obtained. This means that the copyright holder's rights to control the change of ownership of a particular copy ends once that copy is sold, as long as no additional copies are made. This doctrine is also referred to as the "first sale rule" or "exhaustion rule."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Using Secondhand Books As Part of a Craft Item

    There is nothing to worry about. There is no copyright infringement.

    Now, if she made copies of the book and made multiple pieces of art using the copies, there might be a small chance of infringement, but seriously, nobody is going to notice or care.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: Using Secondhand Books As Part of a Craft Item

    There are crafts that can be made with printed matter where this is not at all a concner. Papier-mâché comes to mind.

    Is this a craft where people are actually focusing on the printed text? It's difficult for me to see even that as a copyright issue. Pictures or images may be more complicated, as the intellectual rights of the copyright holder may differ from those of an author - although as you can see from sites like eBay there are a ton of people who sell magazine covers and illustrations as frameable art without raising anybody's hackles, even though that may well compete with the artist's rights or ability to generate royalties through licensed sales.

    I suspect that the more likely source of problem would be trademark - cut up a Disney book to make a product that features Disney characters, for example, and I wouldn't be surprised if you get a letter from Disney's legal team.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Using Secondhand Books As Part of a Craft Item

    Perhaps this will help.

    http://www.uncommongoods.com/item/item.jsp?itemId=15807

    My wife's craft item is very similar to this one. I have to assume that since this artist's products are online and apparently drawing no ire from publishers or copyright holders that my wife should be okay to proceed.

    I've seen other products of this ilk as well. Funny, tho....when my wife started doing it, we could find nothing else like them anywhere. Since then, we've found a few. That part doesn't bother me. A lot of people cruise craft shows, see a cool idea, then recreate it with their own take.

    Happens all the time. Kind of like hearing a good idea for a song, then writing a different take on the same idea. Ideas aren't copyright-able.

    I appreciate all the input!

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