I couldn't find a clear answer and thought I'd ask opinions -

Are you allowed to sell an autographed photo without violating copyright law, etc.?  Most images are obtained online and than signed. I'm sure that can be a copyright issue, and doubt that Fair Use, etc., allows one to do so?

Here's the situation-

Offered an autographed photo of Tiffany Alvord for sale...  I know... who really cares, Lol. However, I was contacted by her manager (which is her mother). I professionally replied, asked questions, and provided information from where I purchased the photo. I'm attaching the messages I received.

Decided it's not worth the hassle and took the listing down, but wondered if others on here ever had similar issues? 

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Yet another reason to buy originals and not copies. If the photo is an eBay knockoff that is a potential problem. Makes me think of wedding photographers or school pictures - they are copyrighted and usually stamped. You must buy the rights to reproduction etc. from the photographer.

Most modern digital photography doesn't work quite the same way. There are certainly instances where you'd have to go to the photographer for permission to print (or purchase) the photo, but for the most part most of these photographs aren't sold anywhere. And I can't recall hearing of any instance where you need to need to ask the celebrity for permission. There are certainly images that are problematic, of course. But those issues are generally few, I believe.

Not to digress either, but that photo almost looks like a promotional image anyway, in which case it's essentially in the public domain. Again, just a guess/possibility.

What about copying a Bowie promo 8x10 photo copyrighted by Greg Gorman w/o permission? 

Something like that, yes. Most photography probably wouldn't quite fall in the same category. It seems like it's harder today to find artists who have physical promo photographs. Those old B&W ones more common in the pre-digital age don't really seem to be a thing anymore.

Anytime you use a copyrighted photo without permission you could encounter problems. Usually the owner does nothing unless you are mass producing those. It's about the money and some cases are not worth the effort. But, if it is listed for public consumption the ower of the copyright can try to get it removed. Most venues will remove the questionable item to protect themselves.

Yep, I get that. From a usage standpoint, it can be problematic. From a quality standpoint, usually not so much.

I often bring photos to shows I got to, so I'm cautious enough on the copyright front just for the sake of not running into problems on the printing front (Shutterfly, Walgreens, etc). Usually an email to the photographer will be fine. These artists also often have PR pages with high-quality images ready to download. 

I use downloaded photos myself. I've never encountered a problem. If a photo has a copyright I avoid them. There are plenty of available images out there. Although I think having one photo with an autograph on it does not constitute a major crime and rarely creates a stink with the photographer.

I hear that...  ever try making a copy of your daughters kindergarten picture? Even twenty years later they'll slap your hand for not having the photographers permission.

I purchased the autograph photo from a well known business. Not likely, but one would hope / think they would make sure they had permission to use the image.

I knew I could count on you guys to feel the same. Lol

At the end of the day, I'm not losing any sleep on this one.

There doesn't seem to be any interest in the autograph, doesn't have much value, and only two of her autographs have sold in the past year (on the big auction site). I don't care... might just send it to her or toss in the trash. 

Just hate to see this type of thing in the future with big names.

most bif artist have retianers  an agrement with ebay and all they have to do is send a link and the uction is gone.

phish does dave mathews does even the hells angels do

There are a number of dealers who will not post signed photos of contemporary celebrities on their sites. Apparently there was/is a guy who makes a living filing lawsuits of this nature. He gets the rights to certain images and then goes after dealers for copyright infringement. The amounts can be huge, so most people just cave and settle.

That said, once a celebrity signs an item and gives it to you, it is your property to do with as you wish. Assuming you can avoid copyright issues with public display of the image itself, they have no legal standing to tell you how to use it.

The analogy about the T-shirt is just silly. Of course if you bought a t-shirt in a store, you can do with it as you wish, including selling it.



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