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Old Newspapers and old photos

 
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Old Girl
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:45 pm    Post subject: Old Newspapers and old photos Reply with quote

I am currently writing a history of a school which will be published and sold commercially for the benefit of the old pupils' association.

I have several articles which were taken from the local newspaper for the period 1920-69 which I don't intend to copy but would like to use information from them (such as quote from a speech made by the headmistress or a governor). Is there likely to be a copyright issue with quoting from a speech?

There is also an interview, carried out in 1951, written by (quote) "An Old Scholar" about the local schools in 1880 and his experience at our school. It would be amazing to include some of this in the book, or at least to paraphrase and quote from it. Clearly, the author will be long gone, and he wished to remain anonymous at the time but is there still copyright with the newspaper?

I also have some photographs dating between 1918 and 1969 which I would like to include. Some are pictures of the school, pupils and also those long panorama shots of the entire school. How far back would these still be under copyright? With the panoramic views, there is no studio name so I would not know who to contact. Is that kind of photo in the public domain (especially as so many people put their old school photos up on social media and local websites)

With regard to the newspaper photos, presumably these are covered by copyright from either the photographer or the newspaper. This is the local paper which has since become part of a regional newspaper group and they are not sure who holds the copyright now. How would I deal with that?

Any help you can offer on any of these issues would be amazing - thank you
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Old Girl

Of the three recent postings we have had on the forums, this is by far the trickiest to answer in simple terms.

But let's do the simple stuff first. Almost without doubt, quoting verbatim from old newspaper reports, or speeches which have themselves been quoted, will be permissible under the newly-created fair dealing exception for that purpose (section 30 (1ZA)). The main things to remember are to use no more than is necessay for your purpose and to cite your source(s).

The old school photographs pose more of a challenge because you can't 'quote' them - you have reproduce them in their entirety. For any you can positively date to before 1 June 1957, copyright will have lasted for just 50 years from the end of the year in which they were taken and then expired. Thus all such photographs will be out of copyright now. Any photographs created after that date became subject to the more usual period of protection based on the lifetime of the author (or photographer in this case) plus 70 years. In other words, these will still be in copyright and thus you need to get permission to use them. But since you have been unable to identify or locate the photographers responsible, the photographs are likely to be what are known as orphan works, and thus you can use the Intellectual Property Office's Orphan Works Licensing Scheme to indemnify yourself against any future claim. More details about this here.

And finally the trickiest part: the newspaper photographs. They follow the same formula as that mentioned above, but because the more modern newspaper photographs (ie ones made post May 1957) are unlikely to qualify for orphan works status, and you need permission to use them, it will be necessary to research as thoroughly as possible to uncover the successor in title to any old newspaper. Places like the British Library Newspaper Archive or the Newspaper Licensing Agency may well be able to help as long as you know the name of the original publication and date on the edtion. Indeed, if the current publisher is one of their members, the NLA may be able to issue you a licence to use the photograph, although as they are mainly set up to deal with contemporary newsprint output for use in digital media, I'm not sure how flexible their licensing arrangements are for a case like yours. If the NLA can't help, then you would have to get permission from the current publisher who had inherited the title you are interested in. It sounds as if you may have already explored that avenue. So if the current publisher is unable to confirm that they own the copyright, you would then almost certainly be able to follow the route of Orphan Works Licensing, although the IPO staff can advise you on this.

As you are probaly aware reproducing old half-tone photographs directly from physical newspapers can result in severely degraded reproductions, which can be further degraded when published in paper book form. For that reason, if you are able to locate the current owner(s) of the newspaper title you may be able to track down the actual original photograph, either in their archive, or more likely in a picture agency which might have acquired the picture stock when the paper ceased trading. A useful place to start on that sort of quest is the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies.
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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
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Old Girl
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi AndyJ
Thank you so much for such a comprehensive answer. That is extremely helpful, and the fact that so much of what I have is pre 1957 makes at least three quarters of my content more manageable.

I shall do as you suggest with regards the remaining photos and the newspaper pictures. I was wondering if anyone had the original images because I can see the poor quality in the newsprint is going to make them difficult to reproduce. A discussion on the local FB page today gave a name that sparked a memory and I am following that up because his descendants might know who the local news photographer was.

Once again - thank you for your help
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again,

Newspapers were traditionally very good at maintaining their archives (or morgues as they were sometimes called) and so there is a good possibility that you may find their picture collection preserved somewhere, either in a picture agency, or a museum or county archive. The former is more likely because when the paper folded, the liquidators will have sought to monetize as much of the assets as possible.
And of course, the newspapers used to sell prints of their pictures to the public so it may be that you will come across some relevant news photos which have been handed down in family photograph albums of former pupils of the school.
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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
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