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Author Topic: Can artwork be copyrighted by another after original artists' copyright expires?  (Read 895 times)


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This question pertains to a photographic image of a model for a sculpture.  The original model in the image was copyrighted in 1907.  I intend to have the model re-created (copied as close as possible) by a sculptor, and then molded and cast in bronze.  I would like to protect rights in my name for possible future castings.  Also, would the sculptor I contract to do the model from my photo, have any on-going rights to the work?

Robert T Nicholson

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To the extent that the sculpture is not an exact, mechanical copy, and exhibits original creative effort, it would be protected by copyright law, as a derivative work.

The artists who makes the sculpture would own the copyright, unless it is done as a work for hire.  In order for you to own the copyright, you must have a work for hire agreement with the artist.

This post is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.

Robert Nicholson Consulting | Copyright Safeguard | ED Treatment Center


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2 notes:

Work for hires can be tricky. It may not be possible in some instances if you hire an independent contractor. The artist may transfer rights as well as agree that its a work for hire. Legally speaking though, agreeing that a project is "work for hire" may not be sufficient to own the copyright for the work.

The photographer is the original copyright owner of the inspired work. Copying that work to a different medium is still copying and an infringement on the original copyright owners protections.
Disclaimer: Not a lawyer


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