“A local artist died. Can I use his painting on my book’s cover?”

“A local artist died. Can I use his painting on my book’s cover?”

Q –

I took a picture of a painting by a local artist and used that for my cover image. He died a few years ago and he didn’t have any family nearby so I don’t need to get permission to use it, right?

T.R.


A –

I’m not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Always consult an attorney for any legal needs you have.

That said…

No, you can NOT use something created by another person simply because they died! Almost everyone has heirs and, even if they didn’t name a specific person, the courts distribute any assets to family, or friends, or even creditors. And, that includes the rights to his original works.

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