Eighteenth century print...

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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GC
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Eighteenth century print...

Post by GC » Wed May 30, 2012 10:03 pm

Hello all,

I have done a search on this and looked at legislation but can't find a definitive answer, so please help.

I want to reproduce a print in a book I am writing about old cooking equipment. It is by an artist called Thomas Rowlandson and was first produced in the 1790s.

Copies of the print are quite rare and very expensive - so I can't just buy an original copy and rproduce images of that. However, I do have the option of purchasing a modern reproduction print of an original.

Does anyone now have copyright over this print?

Can I then use a reproduction of my own print without any fear of come back from anyone?

Thanks in advance for help given.

G.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Wed May 30, 2012 10:33 pm

Hi GC,
If you have found a source for these modern reproductions, it would be best to check if they are claiming copyright in their version. Under UK law copyright can exist in a photgraphic copy of an older out-of-copyright work if the photographer has used sufficent skill and labour in making the copy. Merely putting something on a photocopier or similar machine and pressing the button wouldn't count as there is no artistic skil involved.

Obviously if the seller is claiming copyright, then you would be running the risk of infringing it if you subsequently reproduce it in your book without permission. Under those circumstances it might be worth tracking down a source for the original drawing or painting or etching if it still exists and obtaining a licensed copy from the gallery/museum/private owner, as this would save you a lot of hassle. Alternatively it might be worth checking via the internet to see if there is a public domain version available. American sources are best for this because under their law, photographic reproductions of out-of-copyright works do not generally attract copyright.

I hope this helps.
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

GC
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Post by GC » Thu May 31, 2012 7:52 pm

Thanks, I shall first ask the publisher of the modern prints on what basis they claim copyright. After that, we'll see...

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