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Hi, copyright is definitely an issue. To use anything, you need a license. For example, if you wanted to use Disney characters you have to pay for a license from Disney to be able to use them.

Another example … I also do some cinema advertising and the licenses from the film distributors are only to use images for promotion of that particular movie. Once the movie is over I delete the material as I cannot use it for anything else. So that means I cannot make anything non-approved like bookmarks, badges or other saleable items with the images or logos because of copyright laws.

If anyone asks me to make a greeting card with Disney or other licensed character designs, I have to say, ‘sorry, can’t do’.

So, your niece cannot use any images like that, nor “Darth Vader”; “Cat in the Hat”, “Guns’n’Roses”, “Lil MIss Trouble”… and similar without breaching copyright for making items for sale.

Can your niece draw or photograph? Can she make up her own unique designs? Maybe it’s time to think laterally of other things she could do?

Your niece is fortunate someone has told her before she gets any demands for licenses – she has done the right thing in taking down the site for now and can redevelop it with her own unique designs. So, tell her to hang in there and see this as something positive to go forward from.

The copyright council is at http://www.copyright.org.au/