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Sharing Illustration on facebook

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:57 pm
by amusinglion

Just a bit of background - I'm Social Media Coordinator for an art company.

This coming Monday is Winnie The Pooh Day and I'd like to share an image of EH Shepard's Winnie The Pooh and ask our followers whether there's an illustrator that has inspired them or that they particularly enjoy.

It hasn't been 70 years since EH Shepards death (I believe it was 1976 he died), so does this mean I can't share one of his images without permission from whomever currently holds this copyright. It seems odd because if I google it lots of images come up of these illustrations but I don't want to step on any toes, especially as it's the Work social account.

EDIT: I will also say, that obviously the original artist would be credited.

Thanks in advance

Re: Sharing Illustration on facebook

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:00 am
by AndyJ
Hi amusinglion,

Yes you are right that EH Shepard's work is still in copyright because the 70 year period after his death has not yet elapsed. The safest thing would be to get permission, but considering you want to make use of a single image of Winnie the Pooh, I think that the exception in section 30 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act could well cover you. This exception is for the purpose of review, and for reporting current events so I think it would be doubly applicable in the context of Winnie the Pooh Day (an event which I was not aware of). I assume that you wish to use one of Shepard's black and white line drawings, and not one of the 'modern' Stephen Slesinger inspired colour images, or worse still something from the Disney cartoon films. I would strongly recommend not using the latter, given Disney's reputation for protecting their intellectual property.

To make sure you stay within the fair dealing exception, in addition to providing a credit to the artist as you mention, make sure the image only stays on any social media for a relatively short period of time, and is not left up indefinitely.

On a side note, I am not clear about the current ownership of the rights in the Winnie the Pooh illustrations. If AA Milne commissioned the illustrations from Shepard and there was an agreement to the effect, it seems likely that Milne owned the copyright in both the text and the illustrations. Certainly everything I have managed to find on the subsequent licensing of the stories to Sleisinger and then Disney only mentions Milne. Assuming that is the case, and you do decide to try and get permission, I would start with the publishers, Methuen. I suggest using their press enquiries email as the formal rights clearance route can take up to 3 weeks. Alternatively you could give the Clare Milne Trust a call although I am not sure if they still control any rights.

Re: Sharing Illustration on facebook

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:22 am
by amusinglion
Thank you, it's brilliant to have this as a resource.