I am a bit of a paper addict! I love the stuff, how it’s made, the quality, colour, smell, how it prints and I love to discover new papers to work with. I try to find copyright free papers, so I can make them into envelopes or liners, or to print onto, it makes my life as a small printer easier and keeps the costs down.
A while ago I bought some beautiful quality wrapping paper designed with an Orla Kiely print on it, the plan was to make envelopes from it and pair it up with a spring themed card I was printing. Naively, I hadn’t considered what the implications of using an established print would be, I just assumed that as I was buying a wrapping paper it could be reused in a different way. Almost like buying fabric and making it into a different design.
It was only whilst assembling some of the envelopes that I had a niggle about whether I was breaching copyright, so I asked several people and a group I’m part of for advice. The outcome is that it’s a very undistinguishable line of uncertainty. Paper, like fabric that is sold with a designed pattern can be turned into almost anything, the design belongs to the original designer but in theory you should be able to use it providing you credit the designer should you sell it.
However, it seems that this isn’t the case with designers like Orla Kiely for example, especially if you want to ‘upcycle’ or use wrapping papers to make cards or envelopes from. You could possibly get a call from the lawyers! So I think in future I’m going to resist buying printed or designed papers to avoid the possible headache of copyright enfringement!