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Using image for mousemat, mug etc? (personal use)

 
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joeyb11223
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Joined: 07 Dec 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 2:35 pm    Post subject: Using image for mousemat, mug etc? (personal use) Reply with quote

Quick question for you folks...

I want to use an image on one of those sites which takes the image you send it puts it on a custom product for you.

Now the problem is with the image itself...

The image was commissioned for a multi-national company, they haven't used it for several years but clearly they have a copyright of it.

However it would seem the image wasn't theirs exclusively, as the artist has the same image with just his signature and not that companies copyright on his personal site and a site he links to which sells physical prints for your wall.

I have emailed the artist himself to see if I could purchase a high res digital image of his work for my personal use, however his website has had no activity in over a year and he hasn't replied to my email as of yet (it's been over a week).

The physical prints in frame are around £15-60 depending on how big you want them.

Now I'm happy to pay him a small fee, but without a reply I cannot discuss it.

Am I pretty much stuck unless he replies?
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AndyJ
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Joined: 29 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi joey

If you are sure that the artist is the originator of the work, then that is the best place to start. Although the company may have commissioned the work it doesn't automatically follow that they either now own the copyright, or that they are exclusive licensees. The fact that the artist appears to have been selling prints, suggests that at best the company only held a non-exclusive licence, so they are unlikely to be able to supply you with a print.

So yes you need to contact the artist. If his website appears to have been abandoned there are several other methods you can try to find him. For example if you have the URL for the website, try doing a WHOIS query to see who the site is registered to. This information may or may not provide an actual address of the registrant, but it might lead you to a personal email address, or failing that to a third party registration company (like GoDaddy) who you could try contacting.

If the artist appears to be British, then try contacting some of the collecting societies such as DACS and the Artists Collecting Society to see if the artist is registered with either of them. I assume you have already tried just Googling his/her name, but if not then see what that turns up. Then next you could try the Copyright Hub although that is not a very mature set-up so it's less likely the artist will be registered with them if he/she is not registered with one of the collecting societies.

And failing all that, try using the IPO's guidance for locating authors of visual arts orphan works, which if you follow it and still haven't managed to locate the artist, may allow you to apply for an orphan works licence to use the work. Note that this only applies if the artist is based in the UK.
If you think the artist is not from the UK then you will need to do a bit more research. For an American artist, try ARS, or if they are another nationality you should Google to find a society for artists of that country, or try VAGA.

Good luck
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Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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joeyb11223
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheers for the info, it was a personal gmail address I sent the email too, but just had another look and found a different contact address so will give that a go.
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