Eternity of the author’s right

“Lies Here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be Lost; For it will (as he Believ’d) Appear once More In a New and More Elegant Édition Revised and Corrected By the Author”.

This is the epitaph written on his grave by Benjamin Franklin, the man who established for the first time the legal right of the creative author.

Auguste Rodin organized the eternity of the moral right of the author. He gave to the Rodin Museum the mission to promote his work and to enforce all the attached moral rights. Original works of art, editions of sculptures are limited to 12 numbered copies and proofs combined. The terms “reproduction” and “over-molding” must be mentioned on the invoices and in the catalogs, articles and more generally in all documents concerning them. Consequently, any reproduction, use, affixing, imitation or alteration, in any manner whatsoever, of one or more of these marks without the Museum’s consent constitutes counterfeiting.

A fine of 150,000 euros was recently demanded before the Paris Criminal Court against the company “Gruppo Mondiale” accused of having exhibited or sold a “quasi-industrial” production of Auguste Rodin’s counterfeit works by presenting them as Originals. The prosecutor also sought a sentence of 8 months prison and 30,000 euros fine against US businessman Gary Snell, considered the “de facto manager” of this company.

In other affairs, the Court of Cassation had already confirmed the Court of Appeal’s judgment which convicted a person who manufactured bronzes imitating Rodin’s sculptures by artificially aging them. The damage caused to the respect due to works in the public domain results both from the weakening of certain reproductions, from the forms of the works created by the authors concerned and from the presentation of these reproductions as old prints likely to be attributed to the artists.

A reproduction that is not faithful to the original work realized by the artist constitutes a counterfeit which damages the respect of the name of the artist and the artistic integrity of his work. The magistrates may in particular order the destruction of counterfeit copies.