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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50162
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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My contract with employer was terminated 2 yrs ago. The

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My contract with employer was terminated 2 yrs ago. The company is now in adminisraton. Have used images on my website That exist on the company 's server(I originally took some of them) but received a letter a few months ago from MD highlighting breach of contract. Now Tha company is going to be wound up (as administrators statement) can I re instate the images on my website?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Did you read my question?

Did the letter from the MD, state whether any action would be taken? Please can you also provide some information on the images in question? Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Said no action at that stage, but remove etc. I ran a joinery and furniture section of their business and designed/ made/ oversaw all work. I realised once leaving(redundancy) that the website was still live so had the site builders details and he changed the particulars and transferred to me. When I was made redundant the T/A name (for which my name was used) was ended.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The company exists now, but only whilst the administration is effected for creditors etc. The MD is running another similar company but my contract was with the company which will be dissolved once admin has taken place

OK thank you for the additional information. Please leave it with me and I will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. Many thanks

Many thanks for your patience. When a company becomes insolvent of ceases to exist that does not mean that all its intellectual property rights, such as copyright, ends too. They will continue to exist even after the dissolution of the company so to assume that just because the company ceases to operate or exist, there is no protection against its intellectual property, is incorrect.

Also another consideration is that photograph copyright automatically belongs to the person who created the photo, which would be the photographer. They may have given a company licence to use the photos and to extend the copyright to them but in the end they would be the official copyright holder. So even if a company was to lose their copyright over photos, that could still be retained by the photographer.

Therefore, in the circumstances you would still very likely require the consent of the company, or those running it, or the photographer of the photos to be able to use them.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, iwas an employee and also the photographer in some cases. The other images were taken by professionals, one of whom is a friend so you say its his permission that o reqie rather than the company? (who I know will not give permission) what about the images that I took, where is the burden of proof for copyright? I feel that I will have further questions as this is quite woolly.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If they cease to exist who controls the copyright?

It is not as simple as that. If the photographer was an employee of the company then the copyright officially belongs to the company. If they were self employed or a contractor, i.e. not directly employed by them, they would own the copyright. However, there could have been a formal assignment of that copyright to the company. If the company ceases to exist then they will still own the copyright, I know it appears strange that a company that no longer exists can hold copyright but that is the case. A good example of this was when the Enron company collapsed years ago – even after it ceased to exist they retained a number of different intellectual property rights, some which of were eventually sold for billons.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
what if the images have been in the public domain does that make a difference?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry for being brusque btw, your advice is good, even if not what I want to hear. So i should speak to the photographers to see what their copyright agreement was? Also, what percentage change is needed to make a new image and avoid the copyright situation? These are images of my work, I want to use them.

It dos n

The term ‘public domain’ is often misunderstood – to be in the public domain means that there is no copyright ownership attached to something, not that they are available online or been distributed freely by others. So they would not be in the public domain as they would still have copyright attached to them. As to percentage it is not a matter pf percentages – copyright protects derivative works, so if it is clear that something was derived from a copyrighted image then it can be covered, regardless of the percentage of changes. But what you have to remember is that it is the image itself that is copyrighted, not the contents of the image. So if you have created something and it is still in your possession, you can take a new image yourself of the work and that would belong to you.

If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Still wondering who would challenge once the company is gone, out of curiosity.

Those who were in charge so for example ex directors or shareholders who would have protected the company's interests when it was active

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay thanks

You are welcome

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
if there isn't a contract between the pro photographers and company, and just an invoice for services, should I expect repercussions from yhe company if I go ahead and use them solely with permission from photographer

it depends on what agreement there was between them - a formal contract is not required, for example the photographer may have verbally assigned the licence of the photos to the company but they would know if that was the case so you can ask them directly

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks again,

No worries