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Rights to Reproduce an Image

This is a discussion on Rights to Reproduce an Image within the General photography forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; As most of you know, I am in the middle of professionally reproducing a historical panoramic photograph from 1924. I ...

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    theantiquetiger's Avatar
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    Default Rights to Reproduce an Image

    As most of you know, I am in the middle of professionally reproducing a historical panoramic photograph from 1924.

    I was able to track down the grandson of the photographer, he still runs the photography shop his grandfather started. When I contacted him, he had no idea the image exsisted, and the negative has long been gone (probably just decomposed). He was excited that I contacted him and was very happy I sent him a small scan of it. He told me all about the camera that was used and he still owns the camera (it is called a circuit camera).

    When I told him I was looking to reproduce the image for sale, he had no problem, and said people find his grandfather's images all the time that he didn't know exsisted and he gives them permission to reproduce.

    I have seen some of his grandfather's images on the web for sale, but they are $10-$15 each, and of no historical importance.

    He was very happy to send me an e-mail, allowing me to reproduce it. The guy who scanned my image and is going t be the producer of the image was a little wery about just an e-mail aproval.

    So, I called him back and asked for a signed copy of the release, and explain to him the guy producing it wants one. This time, he started asking questions about all that is going on, how many we plan to make, how much are we selling them for, etc.

    He told me he would mail me a signed copy, but I have yet to receive it, and now he does not return e-mails.

    I have contacted a lawyer to write a contract for me and the two guys who are producing and distributing the image. I asked the lawyer about the rights to the image and he contacted a intellecual property lawyer. They both believe I am in the clear, but not 100%.

    They even said since the negative no longer exsist and I have the only copy known, that I now own the rights to the image because of the work I had done to it to preserve it.

    I have no problem offering the grandson of the photographer a small percentage of my profit, but I am afraid he may want a bunch.

    I am looking at over $500,000 just in my share if they all sell.

    I just wanted some opinions on the subject from y'all.
    Last edited by theantiquetiger; 01-08-2012 at 03:42 PM.

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    I wouldn't think that his grandfathers work would give him the right to your profits in this case. However, law is a funny thing, in the end, whose got the best lawyers?

    It's going to be interesting to see how you go with the sales.

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    Although this is likely USA-related information only, Carolyn Wright may be the person to ask on the NA continent.
    Carolyn Wright, attorney
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    Tell you what, you offer 10% to the grandson and you'll have unlimited rights.

    Greed is a wonderful, yet terrible thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gremlich View Post
    Tell you what, you offer 10% to the grandson and you'll have unlimited rights.

    Greed is a wonderful, yet terrible thing.
    That was the number in my head. It is a no lose situation for me, I have very little money invested into this project. When I first contacted the grandson (I say grandson, but the man is probably in late 60's), I had all intentions to see how much he wanted for the rights, he offered it for free, now he is backing out (I am guessing)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Aussie View Post
    I wouldn't think that his grandfathers work would give him the right to your profits in this case. However, law is a funny thing, in the end, whose got the best lawyers?
    The Louisiana State Library here in Baton Rouge has several of the photographer's image on hand and have a disclaimer, "all images are the rights to the family". I don't know if it just pertains to the images on hand because they know they exsist (and maybe have the images on loan to the library), or was ALL images taken by the photographer copyrighted and the family still holds the rights.

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