Thursday 11 November 2010

Battle for the copyright in children's book illustrations

A two year battle over the estate of celebrated American children's book author and illustrator Tasha Tudor has ended in a settlement on the threshold of the Vermont Probate Court.

Tudor died in 2008 at the end of a long and successful life and career, during which she illustrated almost one hundred books and received many awards and honours for her contributions to children's literature. She left an estate worth an estimate £1.2 million, which included all the copyright in her works. She also left two wills. One original will, executed in 2001, which essentially divided her main assets between her sons. A second, dated 2002, which amended the first will by cutting out one of her sons. Thus, the stage was set for Thomas Tudor, who had effectively been cut out, to contest the second will. He did – claiming that his brother had wielded undue influence over their mother and that there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the changes in the will.

After more than two years of fighting, the matter was due to be heard by the Vermont Probate Court on Monday 8 November 2010. However, after settlement discussions in the courthouse, the parties informed the Court that the matter had been resolved.
Unfortunately, the terms of the settlement are confidential. Nevertheless, it should be pretty clear who came out with ownership of the copyright once these are asserted. Indeed, if the
official website is anything to go by, Thomas Tudor settled for something other than the copyright.

A selection of TT works:

© Tasha Tudor and Family Inc.

Visit the Tasha Tudor Museum

Source: The Associated Press

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