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Postage Stamps Copyright?

Can they be used to graphically enhance a site?

     
5:27 am on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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There are several postage stamps from a variety of countries that are 'relevant' to my site. All across the web, I see stamp collecting sites that scan and post images of stamps. Is it legal to post blue widget stamps on my blue widget page (visual content)?
1:58 pm on June 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think that may come under fair use, providing you say something relevant about the stamp in your write up.
11:15 am on June 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hmm, can't believe I actually tracked down and emailed a group head of IP at the UK's Royal Mail to find out more about this... :-)

My interpretation is:

In the broadest of terms the following applies to the reproduction of stamps in the UK and USA.

Stamps are subject to copyright. In many cases stamps are also trademarked (the Penny Black, for example). In order to reproduce them in any form you must apply to the postal service (Royal Mail/USPS) for a special licence relative to the application of the reproduction.

Dependent, there may be fees involved (primarily administration fees). The process will likely involve submitting for approval the design in which a reproduction is incorporated.

As stated, this is only my interpretation based on what I've learnt; the best thing to do is some homework:

Links (if allowed):

Royal Mail reproduction guidelines [royalmail.com].

USPS Licensing [usps.com].

Hope that's of some use.

Syzygy

 

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