Friday, 12 October 2012

The Perishers Dilemma

Where a Perishers strip would be shown if I had confidence I owned it
As I think I have mentioned before, I am a great fan of the old UK comic strip The Perishers. This started, I suspect, as an attempt to cash in on the success of Peanuts in the US, but it very quickly developed a feel and approach that was all its own. Although the humour could sometimes be childish, it often had a surreal character that lifted it far above its apparent level. I don't know if Wellington's habit of remarking something like 'Colour me amazed' originated with the cartoon, but it was certainly highly appropriate for a black and white strip.

However, this post isn't really about the Perishers per se but about the whole position of reproduction rights of a work of art. Specifically, if I buy an original artwork, do I own it or not?

The reason I ask this is that is that many years ago, a friend who knew I loved The Perishers very kindly bought the original artwork of one of the strips for me. I assume I own this - it was certainly paid for. Yet do I have the right to reproduce that strip on this page? I really don't know. Anything else I own I would say 'yes.' And surely it's only fair if the thing is the original and has been paid for that I can do so. Yet I have a suspicion that I don't have that right. Which seems a little unfair.

1 comment:

  1. Owning the physical object is not the same as owning the copyright. I think you could show a photograph of it as long as you weren't making money from it in any way. Probably.

    Copyright is interesting and complicated. For instance, in the case of letters, if posted, the addressee owns the letter itself but the writer retains the copyright.

    I'm not a copyright lawyer or anything, I should say, just a creative professional trying to stay informed.