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Frankenstein monster images?

Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:00 pm
by Ekko

I want to use one of the classic Boris Karlof Frankenstein monster photo images on a music CD I'm producing. I've come across such a photo on Wikipedia and according to the Wikipedia information about this image, it's in the public domain. But is there any way that I can check on this for sure?

Also, if I were to draw a recognizable picture of the Karlof monster face would this infringe copyright?

Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:00 am
by CopyrightAid

I presume you mean ... rloff).jpg (or something similar).

Being predominantly American, Wikipedia (and the the Internet as a whole) can be a misleading on copyright matters - in many ways America if the 'odd man out' and has lagged behind or had their own internal rules that are out of step with international consensus.

If this were a UK work it would be touch and go depending on whether the author (photographer) is known - however, if this is an American work, we have good news. The Copyright Designs and Patents Act states under Section 12: 'Duration of copyright in literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works':
(6) Where the country of origin of the work is not an EEA state and the author of the work is not a national of an EEA state, the duration of copyright is that to which the work is entitled in the country of origin, provided that does not exceed the period which would apply under subsections (2) to (5).
(the source of this is ... t-.asp#s12 if you fancy a dull read :) )

As for your second question, in a work that is subject to copyright a work based on another can be regarded as a 'derivative work' which would require permission if the work were subject to copyright (though frankly for a work of this age..... ) - but that really does not matter if the work is PD anyway.

Hope that helps..

Posted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:25 am
by Ekko
Thanks very much for your helpful reply!