This can’t be right, can it? It might be courteous to ask for someone’s permission to use your drawing of them on a commercial product, but the drawing you’ve made is your copyright, not theirs. And certainly there’s no law to stop someone writing a book about somebody and putting a picture of him on the front without his permission.
Admiration for Nelson Madela has landed a Leamington artist in trouble with the South African foundation bearing the statesman’s name.
Carol Ballard, of Beauchamp Avenue has been ordered to stop creating pieces of art containing images of Mandela, as they are now protected by copyright.The 48-year-old had heard that the foundation’s Centre of Memory was collecting artwork depicting the former president and emailed six bookmarks she had designed, which had been exhibited at a booksellers in London.
But the mother-of -one, who lived in South Africa between 1972 and 1985, was astounded to be threatened with legal action as a result.
She said: “I had no idea I was breaching copyright protection around the use of Mr Mandela’s image so I was shocked when the foundation requested that I refrain from making art of Mandela or they will have no choice but to seek legal recourse. […]
Ms Ballard’s arts and crafts have been exhibited throughout the country but following the copyright legislation she has had to put an arts garden, inspired by Mandela, on hold, as well as a children’s book about the statesman.
She is now awaiting a response as to how she can create art containing Mandela’s image legally.
She said: “I have had to say that they will never be shown again but at the same time I feel this is not right. Especially the children’s book I was writing. I was doing it really well. I had started with the folk law and I have never seen a book like it. I was really prepared to have it published.
“I am remorseful that in my over-zealous enthusiasm and love for Mandela, I have caused such a reaction from an organisation so close to my heart.”
A spokesperson for the foundation confirmed that the image, work and name of Nelson Mandela was covered by copyright to prevent individuals from making profit from the former president’s name.
Under what law does the Nelson Mandela Foundation claim this strange copyright, I wonder?