Legal Limbo For Chicago Photographer’s Work Featured In Oscar-Nominated Movie

Collector John Maloof matches title tags with photographs by Vivian Maier for an exhibit in Chicago.

In this Jan. 6, 2011 file photo, collector John Maloof matches title tags with photographs hanging at the Chicago Cultural Center for the first ever exhibit of Vivian Maier's photography in Chicago. Maloof is at center stage in the dispute over the lucrative copyrights to Maier's photography. Booming interest in the subject of a documentary up for an Academy Award Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, "Finding Vivian Maier," has sparked the legal battle.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

A legal fight over the streetscape photos by Vivian Maier, a Chicago nanny who is the subject of an Oscar-nominated film, threatens to slow or even stop new releases of her work that have become a sensation only after her death.  

The documentary, ``Finding Vivian Maier,'' is up for an Oscar on Sunday.  

The enigmatic Maier died with no will, no obvious heirs and no inkling the tens of thousands photographs she snapped as a hobby over decades would become so prized. Now, two men she never knew are tussling over rights to print and sell her photos.  

One is John Maloof, who discovered her work. The other is Virginia attorney David Deal, who last year filed notice he'd found a long-lost relative of Maier's.  

The legal process could last for years.

Story source: AP