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Is it legal to...


Senior Member
Is it legal to design vector style movie posters based on actual movies (i.e scarface, rocky, titanic) and then sell them online? would copyright laws make this illegal? or would it be ok because the artwork is 100% original even though it is based on a well known movie?
Well, i wouldn't really know alot about this. But.. could they really do alot if it's 100% original artwork, from yourself. It may be about something else, but it's still your artwork.

But.. i'm sure i have seen people vector things / cartoons and sell them. (And i don't mean their own). But i guess they could of gone through all sorts for that right.

Like i said i'm probably being an idiot but it's just a saying in this :p


Active Member
providing you produce an 'original piece of artwork' that has been created by you and have not duplicated an image and added your spin to it. ie Warhols Cambells Soup, a 'posterised' image ie Che Guevara poster which is take from a photograph etc.


Senior Member
Well the entourage thing is a bit of a grey area, the posters don't exist other than in the background of scenes on the show so I'm not infringing a copyright but there was a spoof ad placed in an American magazine for 1 day which I based my design on. It got me thinking tho that I could do a range of them based on tv shows and movies but I didn't know if I would be allowed!


Well-Known Member
If you use anything you don't own or didn't create (photos, fonts, etc) I'd bet you'd get away with having it in your portfolio as an example of your skills but you'd be in trouble making money off it using copyrighted imagery as part of your design I think.


Senior Member
In short, no, it isn't legal if what you are using has been copyrighted.

Here's an odd example that I can think of off the top of my head. Take Mr Spock from Star Trek.

You can:
Take his live long and prosper sign and do anything you like with it because there is no copyright on that.

You cannot:
Take a screenshot of Spock from a TV series or film and plaster it onto a tshirt in any form (including illustrative)

You can:
Use a screenshot as reference to modify the scene in such a way that it constitutes a new, *original* piece of work.

Basically, there is no definitive yes or no to your question. Only the final piece will give you that answer. However, take Shepard Fairey's HOPE poster.

Fairey then filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, claiming that he did not violate the copyright of the April 2006 photograph because he dramatically changed the nature of the image. Fairey is currently represented by the Center of Internet and Society at Stanford University, arguing that his use of the AP photo falls under "fair use."

According to the complaint, Fairey's team argues that the two images have different purposes. "While the evident purpose of the Garcia Photograph is to document the events that took place at the National Press Club that day in April 2006, the evident purpose of both Obama Progress and Obama Hope is to inspire, convince and convey the power of Obama’s ideals, as well as his potential as a leader, through graphic metaphor," the claim says.
So basically, each case must be treated separately but overall, the artwork must have enough of a degree of separation in order to be exempt from copyright.


Senior Member
thanks for that neil, i guess if i wanted to do it all properly id have to agree a licensing fee with the owners of the copyright, but i cant see that being possible.

when i said i didnt have a clue where to go i meant as in finding out how to ask the copyright holders permission for the use of the images. the chance that a massive global corporation like HBO, Fox or WB letting a freelancer use their products to sell posters doesnt seem very likely!

thanks for your help though, i do appreciate it