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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9589
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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MY WIFE IS AN ARTIST AND HER PUBLISHING COMPANY WHEN INTO

Customer Question

MY WIFE IS AN ARTIST AND HER PUBLISHING COMPANY WHEN INTO LIQUIDATION. THE M.D SAYS HE OWNS THE MASTER FILES OF HER RANGE OF LTD EDITIONS. CAN HE CONTINUE TO SELL HER WORK-EVEN THROUGH SHE NOW REFUSES TO SIGN THE PRINTS
THANKS
GARY HOWELLS
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

If she was employed by the company, and the work was done for the employer, then the copyright in her limited editions vests in the employer. The copyright and hers for 70 years beyond her death. After that, it becomes public domain.

That is assuming there was no agreement that she would retain copyright.

If the company she worked for has gone into liquidation, the copyright vests in the liquidator and the liquidator may be willing to sell it back to her or to anyone else.

However, if she was not employed by the company but a freelance worker, then the intellectual property/copyright remains with her. That is assuming there was no agreement but copyright belong to the company.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please don’t forget to rate the service positive. It’s an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

Best wishes.

FES.

F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thanks for that. master files were sold back to the m.d by the liquidators. freelance worker. one last question--can the m.d sell her product, unsigned without her written permission. regards gary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
as a freelance worker and still retaining copyright, can the m.d. of liquidated company still produce ltd editions up to the end of the numbers. i.e say 100/100 regards
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. He cannot do that without breaching your own property/copyright unless he has your consent.

If you gave your consent to the limited company, that consent does not pass to the MD. It would pass to the liquidator who may then assign it to a third party. Unless that has happened and the MD has brought that right from the liquidator, then the MD is not allowed to do this.

It’s nothing to do with possession of the files. It is to do with consent to do it. As I said earlier, if you are employed but copyright is with the company and hippies bought the rights and the files, he can do it. If you are a self-employed contractor and there was no agreement for the copyright to vest in the company, then it doesn’t go to the liquidator and not to the MD.

It depends here what authority you granted to the company as to whether the MD is allowed to do what he is doing or not

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
FE many thanks for that. just to clarify in my ltd mind!
verbal consent was given to the now liquidated ltd company and not to the ex m.d,.
now a sole trader. original files were sold to the ex m.d by the liquidator, but if he doesn,t have consent of the copyright holder he cannot produce any product. is it worth pursuing to get original files back so we can publish with our new publishers you have been a great help many thanks gary
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Ignore whether it’s verbal or written. Verbal consent is just as good provided there is no dispute over whether the verbal was given or not. If consent was given to the company and the company went into liquidation, that consent passes to the liquidator.

However the selling of the files does not pass consent. There has to be a separate consent

the liquidator will not want to get involved with any argument that’s potentially going to cost money, all the liquidator is interested in is getting money in.

From what you describe, you cannot get the files back because they have legitimately been transferred but what you can do is stop the MD doing anything with them because it appears that he doesn’t have the consent to use those files.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
FE
again many thanks, ***** ***** is clear what we have to do..will certainly be using your services again regards gary
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

I am glad to have helped you. If you want me to deal with further questions for you personally, please put my name the top of the thread, “For FES”.

Best wishes.