old photograph

Advice for those new to the concepts of copyright
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old photograph

Post by Rufuschucklebutty »

I have downloaded an old black and white picture circa 1950/ 60 of the boat i own, and used it in a classified ad to sell the boat, it has a copyright mark on it i didn't see at first, the owner says i cannot use it, i have removed it, but i want to check this out.

How has he come by it ? and how does he own it ? can no one else ever use it ?
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Post by AndyJ »

Hi Rufus,
How has he come by it ? and how does he own it ?

If you mean how did the photographer manage to take a photograph of your boat, then your guess will be somewhat better than mine, since you know where the boat has been kept. But if you mean how has the photographer acquired copyright in the picture, then this is because he is recognised in law as the author of an artistic work, just as if he had written a novel or composed some music, and copyright automatically became his when he took the photograph. Even if the means by which gained access to the boat were unlawful (for instance, if it was necessary to trespass on private land) then copyright would still exist. By the same token, if you take a photograph of your boat you will automatically own the copyright in that picture.
can no one else ever use it ?
The length of time a copyright owner may exercise his monopoly right over his work, which includes the right to make copies of it and to release those copies to the public, is fairly long: namely his lifetime plus 70 years. Obviously it will be for his heirs to exploit the copyright after his death. The usual way by which others may legally use the work is through the owner granting a licence, usually in exchange for a fee. But sometimes authors choose to make their work freely available for anyone to use during the copyright term by giving it a general licence, such as the Creative Commons. This is the basis on which websites such as Wikipedia operate.
I hope this answers your question.
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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