Vivian Maier’s Portfolio Faces Uncertain Future As Her Estate Enters Complicated Legal Battle

Vivian Maier...A Life Uncovered by Thomas Leuthard

Vivian Maier…A Life Uncovered by Thomas Leuthard

A state public administrator’s office in Chicago, Illinois has issued letters to several individuals in possession of Vivian Maier photographs and negatives, informing them of possible lawsuits they could be facing over any money they earned from selling Maier’s work. Among the recipients of the letter were several galleries and John Maloof, an individual who owns a lionshare of original Maier works with a collection of negatives in the tens of thousands, which he bought for $400.

When Maloof acquired the negatives in 2007, he hired a genealogist to help track down any heirs of the mysterious photographer. He was able to locate Sylvain Jaussaud, whom was considered by experts to be Maeirs closest living heir as a first cousin once removed. Maloof and Jaussaud reached an undisclosed agreement in which Maloof would assume the rights to the negatives. Maloof then filed an application to register his copyright, which is currently still pending one year after being filed. [Read more...]

Why Registering Your Copyright Matters

Copyright infringement is one of those problems that never seems to go away. It doesn’t seem to matter how well we educate our clients or the general public. Unfortunately, there will always be people–photographers included– who just don’t seem to get it. Clients think that purchasing a photo grants them eternal, all-encompassing rights to whatever they choose to do with our work, wherever they choose to do it. People have it in their heads that just because a photo shows up in a Google Images search, that this somehow makes it open season for use on their websites, newsletters, blogs, and Facebook posts

As photographers, we know that we need to protect our work from all of these varying degrees of infringement. Unfortunately, too many photographers don’t take the relatively easy steps to adequately protect themselves from the unauthorized use of their hard work.

why-copyright-registration-matters

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