Copyright row as charity and artist see red over poppies on lampposts in Morecambe
Poppies on lampposts in the district remembering the war dead may have to be taken down due to a copyright row.
The poppies were put up by Steve Trainor, who set up charity Poppy Scatter inMorecambe in 2014 to raise money and awareness for past and present armed forces.
But the artist who originally designed the poppy image, Shane Johnstone, says Steve only had permission to use a set number of images on two occasions.
Steve Trainor said: “I set up Poppy Scatter the same year as Barefest was running and I noticed there were poppies up with people’s names on that had died in World Wars.
“I asked if I could put some up on lampposts in Happy Mount Park and all I got was praise. I wanted to put poppies up all along the promenade and lampposts with all the names from the cenotaph.
“The printers said I needed to speak to the artist Shane Johnstone. I then had an email saying I was in breach of copyright. I was told I didn’t have permission and was presented with a receipt for £500 to pay for the copyright.
“I said ‘I can’t just give you £500 it’s a charity’and I wasn’t giving him the money.
“Two days later I got an email saying I could pay £300 to two charities of his choice and take the poppies down in November. I said no, the poppies are staying up for two years. I offered him £100 as a goodwill gesture but there was no response.If I had have known I would never have used them.”
Artist Shane Johnstone who sculpted the Venus and Cupid statue on Morecambe prom, said: “We have a poppy which we produced and used at Barefest in 2014 which he asked to borrow on two occasions .We agreed to him using them for Remembrance Sunday in 2017 and that should have been the end of his permission. We haven’t asked him to take them down.
“He then put them on lampposts with no permission from town council, city council, county council and he is planning to have them up for two years. £500 is the individual standard consent for design, concept and time. Right from the very beginning we said we would pay the £500 to local charities.
“He has paid £1000 to have them printed but refuses to pay 1p to the people who originated the idea. He is using the public’s support for poppy imagery for publicity but he is ripping our design off. We are still waiting for him to discuss a licence agreement.”
Councillor Charlie Edwards said: “It’s bad news what has happened and this has really angered me.I think we should raise the £500 as a town and give it to them.”
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “We have not given authorisation for the poppies to be attached to lampposts and signs, and have been in contact with the charity and the artist about the issue which has been raised, which we hope will be resolved between them.
“We’ll always try to do what we reasonably can to support charities and good causes, but would ask people to get any permissions which may be needed for fundraising activities.”
*The giant Morecambe BID poppies displayed by local businesses and residents around the town to commemorate 100 years since WWI are not under dispute. It is only the poppies displayed on lampposts round the town that are involved.