Selling my photo of someone else's art
January 14, 2013 11:14 AM Subscribe
Someone has asked to license a photo I took of someone else's art. I have no right to the artist's work; I took the photo at a museum. I have no intention of licensing my photo unless and until appropriate arrangements are made with the artist and museum. How to proceed?
posted by Admiral Haddock to Media & Arts (12 answers total)
I took a photo at a site-specific museum installation. The artist is well-known (but deceased), and the museum is established. Photography was permitted in the exhibit, though I assume it was for non-commercial use only.
I received an email asking to license my photo. I have not responded yet. I assume the person realizes that the image is of a work by the artist, and not my own creation (though I will of course impress that fact on him).
As these things go, I think I have a good image of this particular artwork. However, I fully realize that my copyright in the production of the photo does not give me any ownership over the subject matter, which lies in the artist's estate and/or the museum.
I wouldn't mind selling the image, but I would only do so with the consent of the estate and/or museum, as applicable; I have no intention of taking any liability for this image. I don't need the money (or the hassles if this were not papered properly).
How would I proceed? Of course, if the requester is writing an authorized bio of the artist, some of these questions would seem more easily resolved--so I can check in with him. Is this a question that I should send to the museum's media relations line? Will the estate and/or museum typically be separately compensated for their rights here? Can anyone point to a good model licensing agreement that disclaims ownership of the subject matter (to the extent such a form exists)? Also: the would-be licensee is in another country, FWIW.
You are not my attorney. (I am my attorney, though it happens I'm not an IP lawyer.) Again, I don't need the money and have no intention of buying myself a headache over this, so assume I will want to get every release possible for this.