As far as the personal ethical issues go, I agree that this would be a great tribute to your parents' work and their experience, and there wouldn't seem to be anyone else to do it, so I don't see any objections on those grounds. If your parents were cranky about letting other people print their negatives for aesthetic reasons like Brett Weston, you would probably know that, and you would probably have a nice set of fine prints to display, and wouldn't have any interest in the negatives.
No David, I don't recall any problem of that sort. I found the box containing the prints they had exhibited, but no care had been taken with them so they are in pretty bad shape. I don't think anyone had looked at them for thirty-plus years.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
Thanks for your advice.
I say if your parents get full photo credit, go for it. What more fitting a legacy than if my son were to pick up MY torch after I passed on. So go ahead and pick up theirs.
"Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti
Copyrights exist whether they were filed or not. Current copyrights are protected for 90 years after the death of the original artist or writer. Since you are the owner by inheretance, the copyright is yours now. It will continue to be yours for 90 years after your parents died, unless Congress extends it again. After that, they are public domain. If you know your parents wouldn't mind you printing them, then go for it. Legally, though, you are on solid ground.
what a great idea alex
maybe you should mark they with the photographer's name / printed by you ?
that way they get credit for the camerawork and you get credit for
the darkroomwork ...
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Sounds like a worthwhile and entirely ethical project, Alex. I can only hope that my negatives are as well looked after by my kids and grandkids after I've made that leap!
Post some of them as you work on it!
I wouldn't want to debate a lawyer on a matter of law (I'd lose), but I think you had specified that you legally own the negatives. So, I would guess that legally they (the negatives) are yours to do with as you wish. The only "legal" impediments that I could see would be:
Originally Posted by Alex Hawley
- If your parents had sold the rights to the use of any specific negative ... the only way you'll know is to find the relevant "rights" document, or to hear about it after you print and someone objects ...
- If you print them, sell the prints and pass them off as completely your own and get caught (I can't see you doing this so it's irrelevant).
But ...... you didn't ask about "legal", you asked about "ethical" and seeing as you own the negatives, it seems that the only unethical thing you could do is leave the source of the negatives unmentioned or make the credit ambiguous when you print them (another pair of things that I can't see you doing), so why not go ahead and print them, give and take credit where due and be proud of your parents (and your own) work.
PS : this opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it