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Selling celebrity paintings

Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:59 pm
by Jelholmes

I have a friend who has been photographing live music for the past few years and has an extensive catalogue. We have discussed the possibility of selling framed prints of these online and I was wondering if there were any copyright issues with the artist themselves?

I also have been doing painted versions of the photos on canvas, would there be any reason why I couldn't sell these online as well?

Thanks in advance

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:47 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Jel,
When you say your friend has been photographing live music, I assume this is from the audience at the venue, without any special permission. For most venues it is a condition of entry that either there is to be no photography, or it may be allowed for non-commercail purposes only. For example it would be extremely hard to eject all the fans who took photographs on their phones or point and shoot cameras. But this forms part of the agreement between the venue or promoter and the individual audience member, rather than between the band/artist and the individual audience member.
Although technically what your friend has done is to photographically record part of a performance I'm not sure this would amount to infringement of the performer's rights because the law says the amount recorded has to be substantial
182 Consent required for recording, &c. of live performance.

(1) A performer’s rights are infringed by a person who, without his consent—

(a) makes a recording of the whole or any substantial part of a qualifying performance directly from the live performance ...
and since the photograph will probably capture under a second out the whole gig, and will not include any sound, I am reasonably sure a court would not find this to be substantial. If this is so, then your friend does not need permission from the band/artiste to use the photographs. Furthermore he owns the copyright in the photographs he has taken and so he can authorise you to make painting copies of his work.

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:12 pm
by Jelholmes

Thanks alot for the prompt response!

My friend always had permission to take the photos, mostly at festivals where she had a press pass and took photos from the pit.

So, if I understand correctly, there is no reason we can't sell poster size prints of her photos? The artist has no 'publicity rights' that stop us from making money from their image?

thanks again

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:01 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Jel,
No, that makes everything pretty good. If your friend had a press pass, there was implied permission for her to publish the photographs. So unless she was subject to any special conditions by the management(s) of the artists, they would be expecting her to use the pictures commercially. Indeed the bands etc would probably be keen to get any additional publicity.
I assume that she was a freelance, and not there on behalf of an employer or agency. This being the case, I can see no reason why you can't go ahead with your project.