I am looking into selling enlarged prints of collages I have created from various magazines. Would this be copyright? (I live in England).
Brief Answer: If I read your question correctly, and you're asking whether using images from magazines (to create a collage you're going to sell) is possibly copyright infringement, the answer is Yes. See below for full explanation.
If you're asking whether you can own the copyright over the collage you created, the answer is also Yes.
Although you are only using a small portion of each image from a magazine, you may still need permission from the owner of the copyright of those images. Fair dealing in the UK (or fair use in the US) as acts that are exceptions to copyright infringement are limited to those acts defined by law. In the UK, acts considered as fair dealing are found on the UK Copyright Office website. Your use of photos to create collages you will sell would not be considered an act of fair dealing.
While use of other people's works is generally considered infringement if you are relying on a 'substantial part' of that other work, nevertheless if you are cutting out a face from a photo in a magazine, for example, although that face may physically represent only a small fraction of the entire image, it may nevertheless be deemed to be a 'substantial part' of the photo.
If you do not want to pay or contact copyright owners for permission to use their images in your collage, I would suggest you use images that are available for commercial use through the Creative Commons (CC) license. Please note that not all CC licences allow commercial use, so make sure the images you want to use do allow you to sell your work.
Alternatively, take photos yourself, or hire a photographer to take photos. If the latter, make sure you have the photographer assign the copyright of the photos to you, or (if s/he wants to retain ownership) through a contract, have the photographer provide you with the license rights you need to sell your collage.
To search for images that you can use, see links below:
(please comply with their conditions, if any, for free use and/or for commercial use)
- Public Domain Sherpa
- Free Digital Photos
- Free Images
- Images Philippines
- Directory of Creative Commons Images