copyright and ownership again

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Maisie
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copyright and ownership again

Post by Maisie » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:06 pm

I was given a painting 40 years ago by the artist. The artist since became famous but died in 2006. His family took over his estate and in 2008 contacted me to ask if I'd lend the painting for an exhibition in aid of a charity they were setting up in his memory.

During that exhibition they photographed the painting. At the same time, they transferred the management of the estate to an agent. They then set up a website using the painting as the Homepage with links to a gallery and the sale of T shirts with the painting on the front.

I was not informed of their intention to do this, and by the time I realised, it had been done already. The agent told me the family had decided to generate more income from the estate. OK, so they have copyright.

But, out of courtesy, should they have informed me of this intention? And none of the income will go to the charity. Can this be right?

I lent them some private letters, with sketches, for the exhibition as well. One has the lyrics of a song he wrote. Whilst I realise they have copyright over these too, can they put them on their website as well?

Be so grateful for some insight into this.
Thanks

Warlock
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Post by Warlock » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:22 pm

By your own words - they are the copyright owners, this means that they have the exclusive right to control how the work is used, including the making of reproductions, publication etc.

Perhaps the way they approached this was less that courteous (perhaps?), but from your description they are totally within your rights. How they choose to conduct their estate is their business.

The fact that you own the painting, gives you no automatic claim to copyright - you simply own the physical painting.

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