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Chocolate Bar wrappers - Copyright issues from commercial use?

Hi

We are in the redesigning our chocolate bar wrappers with original artist designs but as we have 44 different infusions this will be a lengthy process. While we do that I would be keen to buy some 'of the shelf' designs. My only concern is this infringement of someone's copyright if we then use these papers to wrap our chocolate and then sell them i.e Can I use them commercially?

I've heard of other companies that use off the shelfs design but just wondered if this was allowed or they were just doing it.

I'm in the UK and any advise would be much appreciated!

Thanks
Calum

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If by "off the shelf" you mean stock photography and/or illustrations, then the answer to whether or not this is permitted depends on the company from which you license the art. When you pay for art on a stock art web site you are not buying the art in question. Rather, you are paying for a limited use license for that art. For example at iStock, which is now owned by Getty, a regular license will NOT allow you to use the art for items for resale (this would include chocolate bars). You would need to purchase an extended license for that.

Many stock sites have similar arrangements, and you'll want to be very careful to be aware of those before you move forward. BUT, once you insure that you're meeting their terms, then you should be fine. Most of these sites (at least the good ones) guarantee that their art will not put you in a position to infringe.

On the other hand, if by "off the shelf" you are referring to those cheapie web sites that create logos and such for $50, then I cannot advise strongly enough against using them for this type of situation. Really, just don't.

Also, no matter what advice you receive here, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you run this past your attorney. I don't know what infringement penalties are like in the UK, but here in the US they can be so draconian that even a small transgression can put you out of business. You'll probably be fine. But proceed with caution.

Hi

Thanks for your feedback.

I know the Mast brothers when they first started used Rossi1931 papers. Would they have had to have permission to use these designs commercially?

I've seem so other companies I like how design and sell papers and as an interim measure I would like to use them but I'm not sure if I can?

Thanks!

Okay this is different. I didn't realize that you were talking about decorative and stationary paper. In that case I would simply call the manufacturer and ask them. They'll probably be fine with it. In fact they may really like the idea that you're using their paper for this purpose.

In addition there's a good chance you'll be able to buy wholesale quantities direct from them at a substantial discount. They may even be willing, as long as you buy sufficient quantities, to produce paper for you in a custom format. With the right manufacturer, you could develop a very beneficial relationship that you could even use with your new designs! 

Calum which manufacturer is doing your packaging? Im finding it really difficult to find anything on the net.

Hi Calum,

You might want to verify that your packaging complies with EU and UK legislation concerning food safety. Any (packaging) material in contact with food is subject to these regulations.

Regards, Bart

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