If this seems a silly question, then please forgive me. I have no clue about anything to do with copyright.
Is it possible to copyright register a coat of arms which has passed into the public domain? I would like to copyright a particular coat of arms under my partner's name as a birthday gift and am unsure if this is something which can be done? The original copyright has expired - does that mean that I can re-register it? Or does it mean that no-one can own it now?
Thanks so much for taking the time out to reply to me, I look forward to hearing back from you.
From a copyright perspective what you suggest is not possible, but I also suspect that the legitimate use of a coat of arms would be restricted in any case.
Firstly the copyright angle:
A work is said to fall into the public domain when copyright expires, at that point it is available to everyone.
You cannot 'resurrect' an expired copyright, nor can you retrospectively claim copyright to someone else's work - (copyright is the right of the creator of the work)
The closest you can probably get to what you want is to adapt the coat of arms - the result (your version) may be subject to copyright as a derivative work. You should however be clear that the underlying work would still be available to all. (BUT see below)
On the coat of arms itself:
I must confess that I am not at all familiar with the rules governing coats of arms, but I believe that the use of a 'real' coat of arms will be restricted. I am aware that a lot of people get 'made up' (unofficial) coats of arms, but genuine coats of arms are granted by the Heralds to a family.
The following link should help with coat of arms questions.."To find out if one has a coat of arms by descent is a matter of family history. It is necessary to trace one's family as far back in the male line as possible and then see if any one in the resulting family tree of the family was granted a coat of arms."