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   Author  Topic: Publisher/author out of business  (Read 851 times)
McKinley Rose
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Publisher/author out of business
« on: Dec 14th, 2006, 3:51pm »
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I have a book, printed in 1971, which contains an image--a drawing-- that I would like to reuse.  I would like to use the image to accompany an article that will be published in a magazine.  The book's publisher apears to be the book's author/illustrator.  Copyright statement on the book states that the author/illustrator owns the copyright.  The author/illustrator and his wife have both died.  What steps must/should I pursue to gain permission to reuse this image, if any?  (I would of course credit the creator.)  Thanks in advance for your reply!
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JSonnabend
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Re: Publisher/author out of business
« Reply #1 on: Dec 18th, 2006, 7:30am »
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That's a difficult one.  In all likelihood, someone still owns the copyrights to the illustration in question.  You might begin by contacting the book's publisher.  You can also check the Copyright Office, although I'm not certain assignments through succession would be recorded.
 
- Jeff
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Re: Publisher/author out of business
« Reply #2 on: Dec 18th, 2006, 4:24pm »
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When a person who owns a copyright dies, the copyright passes more or less in the same way as any other property, except that the Copyright Act has a specific hierarchy that trumps anything to the contrary in the author's will or state intestacy law (i.e., the law that determines what happens if a person dies without a will).
 
In your case, if the author had children, they probably now own the copyright (even if they don't know about it).  If he had no kids, then his "next of kin" under the applicable state law probably own the copyright.  It is unlikely that any of this would be reflected in the records of the Copyright Office.
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