I’m an artist and I was under contract to a company that published my paintings as posters. This contract said “in perpetuity” but they went out of business in the late 90’s. They must have sold the rights to another company as I found my images today being sold on Picassomio.com. I have never had any dealings with Picassomio. I have had no say in the quality of the printing of my images and no royalties from them. The quality of my images on their site is very poor. Now I want to advertise these same images on my own website and sell them printed on archival quality paper and canvas. Can I legally do that if I signed a contract “in perpetuity” with a company that is now closed?
1 Answer from Attorneys
The "in perpetuity" language is not the issue. The real question is what rights you granted the company in the contract, and what rights were retained by you. Was it a "work for hire"? If so, then that company owned to copyright, and there may not be much you can do. If not, was there any provision for assignment of rights by the company? Was the license non-exclusive? It sounds to me like you need to show the actual contract to your lawyer to determine whether you have any right to make and sell prints, or to prevent Picassomio.com from doing what it is doing.
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