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Is this copyright infringement

Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:13 pm
by JohnD

1. My wife co-owned a graphics studio in Italy some years ago. She and her ex-partner were commissioned to work on a project whereby they used an image of her face and body on the clients product. Soon after she left the company the product went into production and is now being sold worldwide. Her ex partner receives Royalties from every product sold. She receives nothing, also she has signed no contract giving permission to use the image of her. Is she entitled to any recompense or can she get the company to withdraw its product?
2. Because we have no experience in this field I categorised this as copyright infringement! Is this the correct terminology to use in this case?
3. In such a case would a lawyer/solicitor take on a case like this on a no win no fee basis?

Sorry for all the questions and thanks for your time


Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:26 pm
by CopyrightAid
Normally in the case of commissions work, copyright will belong to the company that carried out the work (if a company) or the individuals (if not done as part of a company).

i.e. Suppose ABC co. want some graphic design work done. If I personally do this as freelance work, I own copyright. If I carry out the work as part of my employment with XYZ Design Company, XYZ Design Co own the copyright. (In both cases if there is a contact to the contrary this will of course override this).

If this was work created within the company, and she later left the company (which is how I read your post), then I suspect that the company will still own the copyright.
If the company was a simple partnership (rather than a limited company), she may have a claim - but even then, the division of assets should really have been agreed when she left so I really don't know how she stands now.

You could investigate the 'use of her image' question with a solicitor, but as she was working on the product, (and therefore clearly aware of the use her image was being put to and didn't complain at the time), I doubt there is much she can do now.

Sorry that this is probably not the answer you wanted..

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:49 am
by JohnD
Not a problem, thanks for taking the time out to reply.