Glasgow's Salvador Dali painting of Christ's crucifixtion at centre of copyright battle

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While the sombre work of art, entitled of Christ of St John of the Cross, is now valued at more than £60 million, the council believes it could be worth more still in uncollected licensing fees and royalties.

Its lawyers are said to have drawn up a list of 50 companies including ashtray manufacturers, poster makers and artists that have apparently copied it without permission.

Warnings have already been issued to 25 firms and individuals internationally to "cease and desist" from using the image or face the legal consequences.

Colin Hulme, the intellectual property lawyer handling the case, said a large proportion of the unauthorised copies were produced by a small number of printing firms.

He said: "Our initial focus will be on hitting the most prominent companies who are selling copies of this painting at considerable sums and in substantial quantities. "We can seek damages for copyright infringement on past sales as well as require licence payments going forward.

"Our overall objective is to ensure that anyone who wishes to sell copies of this work in the future will have to pay for the privilege of doing so."..

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