Reselling Tuck images on eBay

Is it permissible / legal to copy images from this website, to sell?

I’ve noticed a seller on ebay offering what appear to be copies of images from the TuckDB website (selling at over £5 + postage each!). I believe they are taken from this website because the wording of the descriptions also appears to be the same.
Is this legal?

Hey Lynne99,

Are they re-printing them? Do you have a link to the ebay item?

The legality of this usage is a gray area, because the images are over 100 years old, they are out of copyright. When people ask if they can use the images on our sites I say go for it.


I think they must be re-printing them, as they are offering the photos for sale and charging postage.

I’ve copied the URL of one page showing the seller’s ‘old photos’ of Barningham (18 photos, the same set as on TuckDB). I accessed it when I was signed in to ebay, don’t know if you would also need to sign in.

I’ve tried searching this seller’s ebay shop for other villages which are on the TuckDB website and found what appear to be the same sets of pictures, and wording of descriptions.

Well look at that! At first I thought they were selling the card and using our images, but they are selling an “old photo”.

Thanks for sending that, honestly, I don’t think that’s illegal or bad at all.

@amilling8 What do you think?

HI-I have seen lots of pages that take the images off of Tuck DB if that is what the question is?. Some for sale and some turned into various art and craft items or books with repros. My belief is that the copyright restrictions are long since over. If it helps people out. It is not much different than copying images and taking infomation off of ebay and adding to the database to promote postcard collecting. Shared use of information. Alison

The seller is being a bit devious. The photos are listed as “New”, and this is the description:

“You are bidding on a large historic photo, the photo is in excellent condition, it is sized 8x11 inches and has been professionally produced”

So while the images are historic, the prints are new.

Yeah I agree, I don’t think we should do anything

But at the same time, I was thinking of making a reprinting site that offered this service, and people are paying 8 pounds for it…

Thank you for discussing and replying.

As someone who’s made ample use of TuckDB images on my own Arbuckle Coffee Trade Cards website, I think perhaps I should weigh in on this discussion.

The expired copyrights for most of the original images that appear on the Tuck cards certainly do allow anyone who actually owns one of those cards to scan, photograph, or otherwise make use of the image on that card as they see fit. However, it doesn’t mean that those derived images are automatically free for anyone else to simply appropriate for further use without either express or blanket permission from the owner of that derived image. Whoever went to the trouble of creating that image from the original card holds intellectual property rights for that image and may or may not wish to grant permission for further use of it. So, for instance, if somebody wants to put the image from a vintage card on a T-shirt, they need to either scan or photograph the card themselves, or get permission to use an image from someone who’s already done so.

In the case of TuckDB, you have basically granted blanket permission for the use of the images from the site, which is why I’ve felt free to add them to my own site, with appropriate credit to TuckDB for each and every image used (such as this example), along with kudos to TuckDB on my Acknowledgements page. Over the years, I’ve been able to add a number of images (not Tuck) from other contributors or websites who have granted explicit or blanket permission for use of their images. I have also occasionally granted permission for others to use my images. It is never appropriate to simply lift an image from another website, (including an eBay auction) without explicit or blanket permission from the owner of that image. Just because an image is online somewhere, doesn’t mean it’s automatically free for all.

Voluntarily contributing images to TuckDB (which I’ve done here in this forum), or any other website, certainly would indicate that the contributor implicitly accepts the terms for further image use that the site has established.

Since TuckDB has essentially granted blanket permission for unrestricted use of its images, I would say that the eBay seller referenced in the original post in this thread is perfectly free to do what he’s doing, although, frankly, I’d say his approach and methods are deceptive, at best. And his feedback reflects that. However, it has to be up to eBay to deal with that, and it appears that eBay is probably raking in enough income from him that they’re not about to upset that gravy train.

So, there’s my two cents (USD) worth on the subject.


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