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Author Topic: Question for Historical Photos.  (Read 603 times)

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« on: April 07, 2020, 23:12 »
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What are the rules on selling old photos such as ww2 and ww1 photos. I see a number of sites on SS that sell these historical photos. I assume they were taken by someone long gone. What are the rules/laws on old photos being sold for stock ?


« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2020, 01:18 »
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As far as I know, copyright expires 75 years after the death of the artist ?   WWII was not THAT long ago ...  If the photographer was 30 years old during WWII and died at 70, then you would still need a long wait.  On the other hand, if you are the heir of the photographer, you might have inherited copyright ... 

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2020, 10:21 »
+1
As far as I know, copyright expires 75 years after the death of the artist ?   WWII was not THAT long ago ...  If the photographer was 30 years old during WWII and died at 70, then you would still need a long wait.  On the other hand, if you are the heir of the photographer, you might have inherited copyright ...

Depends on when they were copyrighted if ever. Very complicated. But in general you are correct, the heir can upload images to SS that are not in the public domain. That person would need to create a property release for their family images.

We can license public domain images to buyers, we can't claim copyright. However a collection of PD images or a composite like a composition using a number of different PD images, could be protected. Nothing is easy or simple.  :)

I don't do "found images" just too difficult to figure out who took them and then are they dead or alive. Big problem is if someone says, that's my photo and sues. Family photos would be easier, because you can self release. I have some WW I photos, I'm not sure if I want to risk that. See above, 1900 for all those Unpublished works, is tricky.


The cut off for images in the US being protected is 1924. If they were copyrighted before 1925 they are now public domain. SS doesn't take those, Adobe doesn't take those.

Read here:  https://copyright.cornell.edu/publicdomain

iStock uses 1900 as the cutoff, here's why.

Unpublished anonymous and pseudonymous works, and works made for hire (corporate authorship)    120 years from date of creation    Works created before 1900 are public domain

Unpublished works when the death date of the author is not known    120 years from date of creation    Works created before 1900 are public domain

You would need to know the author and their date of death, or the restriction would be, before 1900.

I don't know what other agencies require, but since those are the major three, that might be useful. Alamy will take many things are Editorial, without a release. There is a check box for public domain source.

2.7 Images can be marked as Only available on Alamy meaning the image is Exclusive to Alamy and any subsequent licences for these images will attract the commission rate applicable to Exclusive Images. If Alamy deems that the Contributor has marked an Image as Exclusive when in fact it is Non-exclusive then Alamy has the right to reclaim all commission paid in respect of such Image and/or terminate the contract immediately. The Contributor acknowledges and accepts that Images of artworks, or that are not protected by copyright, or that are in the public domain or for which copyright ownership is unknown must never be marked as Only available on Alamy

So a PD image can't be exclusive on Alamy (or anywhere else)

Side note:

For people who try to read between the lines and cheat the agency and the system:  If Alamy deems that the Contributor has marked an Image as Exclusive when in fact it is Non-exclusive then Alamy has the right to reclaim all commission paid in respect of such Image and/or terminate the contract immediately.


« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2020, 10:55 »
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As far as I know, copyright expires 75 years after the death of the artist ?   WWII was not THAT long ago ...  If the photographer was 30 years old during WWII and died at 70, then you would still need a long wait.  On the other hand, if you are the heir of the photographer, you might have inherited copyright ...
Depends on when they were copyrighted if ever.

I just found that quote surprising... Anything original that has been created by anyone is automatically copyrighted to that person and does not give the right to anyone else to use without his permission or license. You don't have to ''copyright an image'', the copyright is effective the day and date you created it (and in law cases that you can prove you created it at that date).

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2020, 11:29 »
0
As far as I know, copyright expires 75 years after the death of the artist ?   WWII was not THAT long ago ...  If the photographer was 30 years old during WWII and died at 70, then you would still need a long wait.  On the other hand, if you are the heir of the photographer, you might have inherited copyright ...
Depends on when they were copyrighted if ever.

I just found that quote surprising... Anything original that has been created by anyone is automatically copyrighted to that person and does not give the right to anyone else to use without his permission or license. You don't have to ''copyright an image'', the copyright is effective the day and date you created it (and in law cases that you can prove you created it at that date).

Right except under the old laws that wasn't true. The laws change, and before the US came more in line with the rest of the world, there are some odd situations. One of those is, if an item was never copyrighted, the protection under the old laws, was variable, depending, was the date known, the author known, was the author deceased and when.  :o

I believe it was the copyright act of 1976 that froze the dates of automatic becoming public domain, at 1923. That has just started to age off again in 2019. That's why it was 1923 for so many years, but now is before 1925.

Canada (where if I remember right, you are) had different laws, which were more standardized based on life of the creator, or I should say, death of the creator.

Anyway, the catch in the 120 years, making the date 1900 is things before the automatic protection was made the law. For things that were never copyrighted. Where things that were and items that can be identified and have lost their protection. We live in interesting times. The longer these new laws are in effect, the easier it will be to know what is covered and how.

For example, after 1977:  70 years after the death of author. If a work of corporate authorship, 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever expires first Which has remained mostly unchanged.

In the UK 1911 is the date when automatic copyright went into effect. The US was 1978 or later. Which also brings up some interesting problems, if something was published in the US and was now Public Domain but the same work published in the UK, was still protected.

Anyway, yes you are correct, currently anything published in a fixed format is protected. It didn't used to be that way.



 

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