GRP Rainer LLP

Publishers Cannot Prevent Distribution of Pictorial Material

When granting publishers exclusive rights, the photo-artist does not always lose the right to use individual photos of a series.


Cologne, NRW -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/13/2012 -- GRP Lawyers Tax Advisors Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London elaborate: The Higher Regional Court of Cologne decided with the judgement of the 21.12.2011 (File Number 6 U 118/11) in favour of the artist. Though the right of use was transferred to the publishing company by the artist for a certain book project, the publisher cannot forbid the author from using the pictures in the absence of a suitable alternative agreement. To which extent an author grants rights of use to third parties is determined in the contracts he signs. The publisher cannot forbid the use of photos by third parties when authorized by the photographer. By granting the right to compile a collection it depends, according to court, primarily on choosing and assembling a variety of photographs and Texts, so that another use of individual photographs does not contradict any contractual agreements.

In absence of explicit regulations, the contracting partner should follow consentaneous contractual goals and needs. Moreover, the question whether wider rights of use should be granted in order to fulfill the contract-goal, still imposes itself.

The Higher Regional Court has underlined that the copyrights must, as far as possible, remain in the hands of the author. The exceptions however are cases of explicit divergent regulations regarding the transference of rights of use.

Should a copyright violation have occurred, then a lawyer working in the field of copyright laws can aid you enforce your indemnity claims.

Moreover, a lawyer may help you assert your rights and thus protect you against violation of your copyrights, so you may partially prevent legal disputes and protect your copyrights against abuse; claims against any liable party can thus be quickly enforced.

In order to avoid making yourself mistakenly liable for damages towards the author of any work, a lawyer experienced in copyright laws should check on existing copyrights and licenses. A lawyer can offer you extensive legal advises on this behalf.

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GRP Rainer LLP is an international firm of lawyers and tax advisors who are specialists in commercial law. The firm counsels commercial and industrial companies and corporations, as well as associations, small- and mid-sized businesses, self-employed freelancers and private individuals worldwide from offices in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, and Stuttgart, Germany and London UK.

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