A member asked over 7 years ago

copyright passed to estate

The question is if an image of a copyright owner passes away and is passed on to family, how would someone legally be able to use it? I need the process of this.

Law Advisor Research Team
Researchers at LawAdvisor

Hi there. From the information you provided, it appears that a person, who owned the copyright to an image, has passed away and left that copyright to beneficiaries under a will. You are wanting to know how the image can be used legally.

Copyright is the legal protection afforded to the original expression of ideas and usually applies to art, literature, music, films, photographs, etc. The copyright will exist automatically in the work (i.e. you do not need to apply or register for copyright protection). The copyright is owned by the creator of the work and lasts for the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years thereafter or, in some cases, 70 years after the date of publication.

The copyright owner has a number of exclusive rights, such as the exclusive right to use and publish the work, and the right to license the work to third parties for a fee. The copyright owner can also assign the copyright to another person via a written agreement. This new person becomes the owner of the copyright and acquires the same exclusive rights of the original owner/creator.

In your situation, it appears that the creator’s copyright was bequeathed to one or more people under a will (called beneficiaries). If the written assignment is valid, these people will become the new copyright owners. These owners can exercise the same rights as the original copyright owner/creator (i.e. exclusive use, licensing, royalties, etc). The new owners can also enforce their rights against third parties who infringe the copyright in the work.

Suggested way forward

Visit the Australian Copyright Council website for more information (www.copyright.org.au). You may also want to consider speaking to a lawyer who can properly advise you of your legal rights with respect to the copyrighted image. By pressing the “Consult a Lawyer” button, LawAdvisor can help you search for experienced lawyers and obtain fee proposals for their services. Costs for legal advice and representation will vary between providers based on experience and the scope of services.

Answered over 7 years ago   Legal disclaimer


Hire lawyers to solve your legal problem now. Learn more

Other Questions

If you're experiencing any technical problems, please email techsupport@lawadvisor.com.