Are these artist trading cards originals?

Janice Hartwell
(Bellingham, Washington, USA)

I don't seem to find any information as to what is considered original. If you've used pictures of other people's art in a collage on an artist trading card, but there's only one, can you call it an original?

Also, is it legal just to copy a card over and over, and call it an edition? I don't plan to do this, but will I get them in trade?

I'd really appreciate answers to these questions. I can't imagine that I'm the only one who wonders about them.

Obviously, if someone just takes a reproduction of another artist's work, and sticks it on an artist trading card, there's no way that this can be considered an original. If, on the other hand, a number of different images and other elements have been combined in a collage with a significant amount of artistic effort, that should certainly be considered as a piece of original artwork.

What may be of more importance is whether it's legal to use other artist's work, and other people's images in general, for this purpose. We look at this in detail when we answer the question "What should I know about selling artist trading cards?" from one of our visitors.

As we say in the third of our series of articles on How to make Artist Trading Cards, no two original works of art are ever exactly alike, but we use the term edition or limited edition to mean a set of artist trading cards which are virtually identical. There's nothing wrong with this, and it's certainly possible that you will receive such a card in a trade.

However, to make and distribute reproductions of an original artist trading card would be contrary to the spirit of this particular form of artistic expression.

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