WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Tracing copyright owners and asking permission.
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MrsTwosheds
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WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Post by MrsTwosheds » Mon Oct 01, 2018 5:16 pm

Hi guys

Hoping you can help with this one, please. It’s hugely different to my usual area of questioning and I have no idea where to start!

I have been asked to help collate information for a friend who is writing her father’s memoirs. The chap concerned was in the Royal Navy and, although he had quite a few pictures of his own, we’ve run aground on the maps front. There are several useful ones in an ancient HMSO publication entitled ‘East of Malta, West of Suez’ which was published in 1943 and is an Admiralty account of that part of WW2. I’m not sure whether, as it was published 75 years ago on behalf of what is essentially part of one of HM forces, it is still within copyright and, if it is, who we might apply to for permissions (HMSO? The Admiralty?). Would be so grateful for any help, please.

Also, we have found another map in a book (The Russian Convoys by B.B. Schofield) printed in 1964 by Batsford. The author died in 1984, so I’m guessing we’d need permission to use the map. I assume that we just launch ourselves at Batsford and beg?

Please help as am all at sea (ooh....pun not intended!).

Very many thanks as always.

Best regards

Sally

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AndyJ
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Re: WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Post by AndyJ » Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:14 pm

Hi Sally,

Naval maps. Since the document was published by HMSO on behalf of the Admiralty, almost certainly Crown copyright will apply. Assuming that the work was published commercially (ie sold by HMSO), then copyright protection ceased to apply on 31 December 1993, that being 50 years since the end of the year in which it was first published. If you encounter any other Crown copyright documents that you would like to use but are not sure if they have been published commercially or if so, when, you can contact the Ministry of Defence (Directorate of Intellectual Property Rights) (email: DIPR-CC@mod.uk) which has delegated powers to authorise the use most of the material created by the three Services and the MOD itself (much more detail about this here (pdf).

Russian Convoys. Yes I think the first point of contact should be the publishers, since the artist who created the maps for the book may well still be alive.

As ever, good luck with the project.
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

MrsTwosheds
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Re: WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Post by MrsTwosheds » Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:21 pm

Hi Andy

Thank you so much for your speedy and knowledgeable reply - you really are a marvel (as Bertie Wooster would say!).

I shall pass on the good news regarding the HMSO publication to my friend and get to grips with Batsford. Very many thanks again as always.

Best regards

Sally

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Re: WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Post by MrsTwosheds » Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:06 pm

Hello again guys

Sorry to keep harping on with this one - any advice gratefully received!

We seem to have hit a brick wall with the permissions to publish. I have written to Batsford giving full details of the publication and, as nothing happened whatsoever, thought I would try MacMillan (who republished the book in the 1970s). They have a snazzy, purpose-built on-line form for copyright permissions and I passed this across to my friend to complete (as the form required details of print format, etc, unknown to me). She has heard nothing from them in over a month and it has now been several light years since I wrote to Batsford. In addition, we have tried the Royal Naval Museum for help in locating similar maps and every man and his dog to get some sort of permission to print anything at all. Zilch. Radio silence on all fronts. Aargh - please help!

Are we doing something wrong? As far as I am aware we have included every detail required of us and been courteous and respectful in the extreme. Short of kissing the hem of the publisher’s garment in person, how can we get anyone to respond? Does it take longer than we have allowed? Could persistent lack of communication on the part of the publisher exonerate us in the event of copyright infringement?

Thank you so much for anything you can offer us on this front.

Best regards

Sally

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AndyJ
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Re: WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Post by AndyJ » Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:34 pm

Hi Sally,

Not sure I can help with how to get publishers to respond more quickly but, my feeling is that your request might have gone on the 'too difficult' pile and got forgotten. Too difficult because they probaly have no trace of the records concerning this book, or at least it isn't on their computer database, and no-one wants to go to the archives which are probably miles away! So instead of just saying, 'go ahead, that's fine with us' nobody wants to make a decision.

Unfortunately their lack of response does not excuse you from liability for infringement. While it is usual for a publisher's permission to be granted in cases like this, possibly with a fee being demanded, but often just an acknowledgement, a rights holder is under no obligation to issue a licence and there's very little that can be done about it. It's a shame that an old provision of the 1911 Copyright Act no longer applies. This would have allowed you to give notice to the publishers that you intended to publish the extract and pay a pre-determined fee set by the Board of Trade, and be absolved from liability for infringement, provided that the author had died more that 30 years ago, as is this case with this author.
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

MrsTwosheds
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Re: WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Post by MrsTwosheds » Fri Nov 23, 2018 9:14 pm

Hi Andy

Thank you for your speedy and erudite response.

It looks as though we may have to go back to the drawing board with this one - I can’t see a way around this (and we obviously can’t force the publisher to respond). I think I may suggest that my friend finds something suitable in a more recent publication which doesn’t require extensive poking around in the archives!

Huge thanks for your help as always.

Best regards

Sally

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Re: WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Post by AndyJ » Fri Nov 23, 2018 9:39 pm

Hi again Sally,

The artist who drew the map for the Russian Convoys book probably had some source material, which could have originated from the Admiralty. Have you contacted the Imperial War Museum or the National Archives to see if they have any official material which you could either use as is, or as the basis for a newly drawn map? Failing that, is it possible to re-draw the map in the Schofield book in a generic way? Since maps are representations of facts (ie the topography) copyright in them is 'thin' and mainly rests in the way the artist represents the features, such as the coastline or any land-based features. The routes of the convoys are similarly 'facts' and are not protected by copyright per se, and so assuming you can find an artist, re-drawing the maps in a new style might be another option. Obviously the original map will have a certain authenticity and feel which may be more important to your friend, and so a 'modern' version may not be acceptable for her purposes.
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

MrsTwosheds
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Re: WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Post by MrsTwosheds » Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:14 pm

Hi again Andy

What a great thought! Very many thanks for this - I know that my friend has access to the arts community here and could get a map re-drawn. It’s the perfect solution and one that never crossed my mind.

It would be a good idea to contact the Admiralty, too, as you suggest. Am so glad I wrote to you - I knew you’d have the answer!

My friend will be delighted with this (and it will save so much time ploughing through books in a map search).

Very many grateful thanks,

Sally

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Re: WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Post by ATMOSBOB » Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:03 pm

I usually had to wait six weeks for replies from publishers when seeking permissions.

One thing you might try is the Smithsonian in Washington. After the war they scooped up thousands of documents and make copies available for very low fees

MrsTwosheds
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Re: WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Post by MrsTwosheds » Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:40 pm

Hi ATMOSBOB

Thank you - we won’t give up on the publisher just yet then! And no, we never gave the Smithsonian a thought, but will now - this is worth knowing and I’ll pass this on to my friend. A great lead!

Thank you again.

Best regards

Sally

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Re: WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Post by Nick Cooper » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:33 pm

I would certainly go down the route of having the map re-drawn. It might be worth looking at difference representations of the same map given that, if it's showing a convoy route, it is probable that it's just a general indication, rather than beign the exact one taken.

Be aware that there are many records dealing with specific convoys at the National Archives, which may actual reveal more accurate information.

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Re: WW2 Naval Publication Maps

Post by MrsTwosheds » Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:39 pm

Thank you, Nick. I’ll get my friend to check out the National Archive, too. She already has an artist on the starting blocks, I think, as regards the map so it would be good to look at other sources.

Thank you all, as always, for such great advice.

Best regards

Sally

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