public statue copyright 70 years after death, heirs making problem about copyright

Copyright Preventing Public Statue from Appearing in Media

One of the most famous symbols for Denmark is the Little Mermaid statue outside of Copenhagen. The statue turned 100 years old last Friday but was hardly mentioned in Danish newspapers. The reason for the lack of coverage on this important birthday for a national symbol was copyright problems.

Danish newspapers described the copyright problems with displaying a picture instead of focusing on more positive aspects for the statue’s 100th birthday. The problem comes from needing the heirs permission and often paying them each time the statue is published. If you do not apply for permission you risk that the heirs come after you with a large fine, which has happened several times.

“Every time we are about to photograph the Little Mermaid, we are careful. She is the only statue that we have to act like this with. Every time we approach her we ask permission from the heirs” – Thomas Borberg, Photo-Chief for Politiken (quote translation by article author)

Even though the Little Mermaid is such a public figure and it was never a problem for Edvard Eriksson (the sculptor), the heirs still have the right to decide what is done with the copyright of the figure. Laws give the heirs right to the copyright for 70 years after the creator has passed away. This makes the sculpture less accessible until 2030.

Featured pic: CC-BY-SA, Pirate Times. Modified from original CC-BY-SA, avda-foto.

Josef Ohlsson Collentine

About Josef Ohlsson Collentine

I'm a dual citizen (American/Swede) and try to integrate my reflections from a more global perspective if possible. I'm the organizational leader for Pirate Times and work actively to strengthen the pirate movement through this work as well as being the international contact for Piratpartiet (PPSE). Elected board member of PPSE for 2015-2018. If you would like to ask me something I speak English, Swedish and Spanish. Find me on the links below