Copyright Aid Forum Index
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in   Main siteC A Main Site 

map, postcard and newspaper copyright

 
   Copyright Aid Forum Index -> Copyright Law

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Copyright Aid Forum Index -> Copyright Law
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
bagibird
New Member
New  Member


Joined: 16 Aug 2011
Posts: 2
Location: Wales and France

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:01 pm    Post subject: map, postcard and newspaper copyright Reply with quote

Hi
I hope you can help me - I have read so much seemingly conflicting advice about copyright issues that I'm totally bewildered!

We are trying to set up a website which will use our own hand drawn maps (approximately 500) to locate specific features. In the main the features we are interested in all disappeared pre-1945. I read the response to cat (16 May 2011) and suspect that our maps may be OK, even though we used (mainly but not exclusively) old OS maps for the information on which our maps are based. Our maps bear no resemblance to OS maps - we have just selected various features which enable us to show the site of the feature we are interested in. On many occasions we've drawn our maps using information from more than one source, but just showing features such as rivers, towns, railways,etc. Hopefully, this would not breach copyright law?

Additionally, we would like to reproduce old postcards and newspaper articles on our website. The vast majority of the postcards were issued before 1940, so, using the "Duration of copyright" aide memoire from "Copyright for Archivists" by Tim Padfield as guidance, I thought that we may be able to use the postcards because copyright had expired 70 years after the creation of the work. However, having read the advice in a recent post, it seems that this may not be safe as the copyright may still exist for 70 years after the death of the photographer.

Please could you clarify this for me? I have no idea who the photographers were, and many of the cards don't even show the name of the publisher. Does the copyright belong to the photographer or to the company who published his work and perhaps commissioned it? How could I establish if he was employed by the company or freelance, especially as many of the companies no longer exist. The same consideration apply to the newspaper articles, many of which don't show the name of the journalist who wrote the piece. Would it be correct to assume that, as the author/photographer is unknown, and the work was published before 1st August 1989. copyright would have expired 70 years after first publication?

I am really anxious not to break any laws and would very much appreciate your help and advice. I'm sorry this is such a lengthy and convoluted post - it reflects my utter confusion!!

Thanks in anticipation.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle


Joined: 29 Jan 2010
Posts: 1523

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi bagibird,

You have raised two separate issues here.

Maps. If you used OS maps as your source, there may be an infringement of the Crown copyright. However it depends on the amount of the original that has been copied, or in the words of the Act, whether the copying is substantial. Unfortunately that is a very hard thing to define, as it can be in terms of quality or of quantity or both. Since you have hand-drawn your maps (rather than say photocopied the OS map), then it may be that the 'quality' of your maps does not not really depend in a substantial way on that of the OS maps which are drawn to a high degree of accuracy. The same analysis might apply to the amount of detail which was taken from the OS maps, and the proportion of new information which you have supplied yourself. Also, if you have only used a small area from a particular map sheet to derive your maps, this may fall below the threshold in terms of quantity when measured as a percentage of the area of the OS map. I know you didn't raise it, but Crown copyright differs from other form of copyright in that its duration is 125 years after the end of the year in which the work was made. In other words all OS maps from the twentieth century are still in copyright. You can of course obtain permission to use Crown copyright material from the Controller of Her Majesty's Staionery Office.

Postcards and Newspapers. Here the problem is much the same as that described in a recent thread started by sixgun entitled 70 year rule, so I won't cover all of the same ground here. Suffice it to say, if after a reasonably dilligent search you cannot identify the author or photographer who originally produced the work, you may use the 70 years from publication yardstick to determine if something is now out of copyright. If you are unable to determine the year of publication, the law offers very little help. This is the problem faced by many museums, libraries and archives which hold milllions of items that are probably out of copyright due to their age, but their anonymous nature prevents a precise calculation. In this context the matter of whether the author or photographer was an employee of the company which published the image or article is a slight red herring, because it is the date of death of the author which is the key. Only once you have categorically established that the article etc is still in copyright does the matter of who owns it become important. Once again if you cannot find the current owner the law is of little help. There almost certainly will be someone who has a technical claim to ownership of the copyright but they may not know this themselves, or be unable to prove it to a court. Assuming that you act in good faith, conduct dilligent searches* to discover the copyright owner and are prepared to pay some reasonable fee retrospectively if an owner does pop up, then I think that, pragmatically speaking, you are unlikely to face litigation. You don't say if yours will be a commercial venture, but as long as it is not, your activities may fall within the spirit of s29 (1) fair dealing for the purposes of research. There is no prohibition on publishing research done under under this section, provided that you also publish as much acknowledgement of the original author or source as is possible in the circumstances.
Good luck with your project.

* You can use sources such as postcard collectors to identify publishers, and if you know the name to the newspaper whose articles you want to use, you can obtain a licence from the Newspaper Licensing Agency
_________________
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bagibird
New Member
New  Member


Joined: 16 Aug 2011
Posts: 2
Location: Wales and France

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andy

Thanks very much for the speedy and very helpful response.

I am satisfied that our maps bear so little resemblance to OS maps, (or any others!) they couldn't be said to be copies. In any event, they show only a tiny proportion of each OS sheet which we viewed.

We had hoped to make a charge to access our work in an attempt to recoup some of the expenditure (which runs into several thousand pounds) incurred in over 20 years of research, but whether that would qualify as "commercial" or not, I'm not sure. Tracking down the potential authors and photographers of over 2000 pieces of ephemera is such a daunting task that I feel we would not want to undertake it. However, we would prefer to publish the work without charging, rather than letting it fester unseen! If I am reading your response correctly, it seems that we could publish the maps and postcards on our website as the outcome of private research without breaching any rules, provided that we attribute pictures, etc as far as possible?

I have used many (unrelated) sites where information, charts, etc are available free of charge, and there is sometimes a "Donate" button displayed, so that you are able to contribute towards the costs of maintaining the site, etc. I wouldn't think that that could be construed as "commercial", so maybe we could use that option?

Thanks again.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle


Joined: 29 Jan 2010
Posts: 1523

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't really add much to my previous answer by way of reassurance about the possibility that s 29 (1) might cover your situation, as an alternative to dilligent searching for the original authors. The courts have taken several different views on what constitues 'commercial' but generally speaking if someone earns money from visitors to the site (for instance through click-through revenues) that could be seen as commercial, even if the site itself is neither selling a product nor requires a subscription to view it. The donation proposal might well escape this interpretation as it is entirely voluntary and is not a consideration for any service.
_________________
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Copyright Aid Forum Index -> Copyright Law All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1
 

You must be logged in to post  Log inLog in
Want to join in? New members are always welcome  RegisterRegister & join the discussion

 

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group