Sunday, February 05, 2023

To Be, Or Not....

Today, my topic is indentity and copyright, rather than Hamlet's existential dilemma.

What happens when two creators (authors, photographers, painters) have the same name? In the case of a father and son, a tag might be added, as in the case of Pieter Brueghel The Elder, and Pieter Brueghel the Younger.

Suppose two artists are not related, but have almost the same name, and one is far more talented in the eyes of the art world and also --perhaps-- rejoices in an unimpeachable reputation. An owner of a work by the obscure painter might wish very much that the signed work he has is a valuable early work by the famous author of the same name. (I hesitate to use "namesake" because that usually implies that the one was intentionally named in honor of the other.)

The famous artist denies that he was ever an ex-con and the creator of the painting in question, and the owner of the one time incarceree's landscape has the gall to sue the famous artist for not being the artist.
Legal blogger Zach Dai of the Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton LLP Art Law blog explains the fascinating and outrageous case (my characterization) and its sequel.

See also 
In another case discussed in the legal blogosphere last week, legal blogger John C. Greiner of the law firm Graydon Head and Ritchey LLP discusses an object lesson in who owns the copyright in a newsworthy photograph of oneself, taken on ones own iphone... but when someone else pushes the button.

If you are going to a celebrity party, try to be... prepared. Take a sheaf of waivers in your purse! Or stick with the selfie stick.

All the best,

Rowena Cherry 




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