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Permissions and Creative Commons

Recently I was researching an art piece for permissions. The artist had passed away less than 5 years. Because, I knew a copyright license expires several decades after creator’s death. I did my research for subsequent copyright holders. The art piece for which I needed permissions was found on an Internet blog site with a Creative Commons (CC) Share Alike license. I thought great.

I began to read the license terms. It read okay, but the CC legal code for the license omitted a jurisdiction or venue clause on whether or not the license would be valid under a specific state’s contract law. The law, as written seemed questionable. The law and options were too oversimplified for me to trust. Then I noticed that CC had changed their copyright slogan from "all rights reserved" into "some rights reserved."
The licensing law being too simple, the slogan change from “all rights reserved to “some rights reserved”, and all the various types of licenses, left me hesitate on my findings.

I decided to double check and researched the database in Creative Commons to see if I could find my artist’s specific piece of art. I did not find it. I found some of the artist’s pieces, but not the one presented on the Internet blog site with the CC Share Alike license. I began my research all over again.

I found that the artist had dedicated all his art to a museum in Tokyo. I contacted the museum, but they did not own copyright. However, they were still friendly with the deceased artist’s wife, so connected me to her and gave me her fax number in Tokyo. I faxed the perm to her home and I received the permissions license faxed back within 24 hours. So my take, you should always obtain permission from the rights holder. Should your only alternative is CC posted licenses. Verify, Verify, Verify.

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About the Author

Janet Woods, CONNECT
Forest Park, IL 60130
312 813 0472

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