Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ansel Adams' Estate Argues Over Photos

Ansel adamsRick Norsigian bought some glass-plate negatives at a garage sale ten years ago. He has begun selling prints of the photographs as authentic Ansel Adams images for as much as $7,500 a print.

If the negatives are Adams’ work, the copyright may belong to the artist and his estate. Simply owning a reproducible artifact, like these negatives, doesn’t automatically give that owner the right to copy and sell them. The two sides have differing opinions regarding when the family’s copyright would expire.

Adams' family could stop Norsigian by agreeing that the negatives are the work of Adams, which they are not willing to do.  Their attorney is currently working on another strategy. 

See Mike Boehm, If Purported Ansel Adams Photos Earn Big Money, Their Discoverer May Not Get to Keep It, L.A. Times, July 29, 2010.


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I own an 6 Ansel Adams photographic prints , as well as some other famous photos by well known and not well known photographers. I want to sell those photographic prints.However before I do ... I want to reproduce one copy of each onto a board for my own collection , and hang them on a wall in my home ... Can I legally do that ?

Posted by: m Regan | Dec 1, 2011 6:11:11 AM

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