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Question about paintings, international creators and public domain.

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Ivgottaquestion

New member
What is the name of your state? Kentucky

I am currently working on a project related to the reopening of the public domain, which involves works published in 1923. However, I have run into some confusion in regards to how the copyright laws apply to artwork by a foreign artist. Specifically, I want to know about two Picasso Paintings. Most of the information I have found about his works in the public domain refers to France's copyright law which is Authors life + 70 years, which would put Picasso's works in the public domain in 2043.

My understanding is that foreign works from the time period in question (the 1920s) were not originally guaranteed copyright protection but that the protections were retroactively restored.

So my question is would Picasso's paintings from 1923 now fall under public domain in the US under the 95 years from publication rule or would it still be copyrighted due to the Authors Life + 70 years?
 


quincy

Senior Member
What is the name of your state? Kentucky

I am currently working on a project related to the reopening of the public domain, which involves works published in 1923. However, I have run into some confusion in regards to how the copyright laws apply to artwork by a foreign artist. Specifically, I want to know about two Picasso Paintings. Most of the information I have found about his works in the public domain refers to France's copyright law which is Authors life + 70 years, which would put Picasso's works in the public domain in 2043.

My understanding is that foreign works from the time period in question (the 1920s) were not originally guaranteed copyright protection but that the protections were retroactively restored.

So my question is would Picasso's paintings from 1923 now fall under public domain in the US under the 95 years from publication rule or would it still be copyrighted due to the Authors Life + 70 years?
In the European Union, to use the works of Pablo Picasso would require permission from the estate of Pablo Picasso until his works enter the public domain in 2043 when copyrights in his works expire (70 years after his death).

In the U.S., however, Pablo Picasso works published in 1923 or before are now in the public domain and free for anyone to use. The estate of Pablo Picasso cannot control the use of these Pablo Picasso works in the U.S.

There can be legal issues that arise, however, with online publications of Pablo Picasso works, with publication originating in the U.S. and displayed in countries where the works are still copyright-protected.

For any specific use you intend to make of Picasso works now in the public domain in the U.S., you would be smart to review legal risks with an IP attorney in your area.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
Yes, the Europeans have more liberal copyright durations and even Berne supports Death+50 as a standard. If you are going to have a greater reach than just the US, you need to be very careful.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Getting permission from the estate of Pablo Picasso to use Picasso works published prior to 1924 might not be necessary any longer in the U.S. but, depending on the intended use of his early works, it could be a good idea to try to get permission anyway (if to acquire a license is not cost-prohibitive).

If permission is granted, this eliminates risk. If permission is not granted or if a license is too expensive, the specific use of a Picasso work should be reviewed by an IP attorney.
 
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