Photographs and the 1911 Copyright Act

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
Post Reply
Stumpy
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:07 am

Photographs and the 1911 Copyright Act

Post by Stumpy » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:24 am

According to the 1911 Act:

Provisions as to photographs

The term for which copyright shall subsist in photographs shall be fifty years from the making of the original negative from which the photograph was directly or indirectly derived, and the person who was owner of such negative at the time when such negative was made shall be deemed to be the author of the work, and, where such owner is a body corporate, the body corporate shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act to reside within the parts of His Majesty's dominions to which this Act extends if it has established a place of business within such parts.

I have two questions:

Does copyright subsist in the photographic print as well as the original negative?

The creation of the negative determines the copyright term, so does the negative takes precedence over the print in terms of copyright status.

The term would start from when the negative was created, not from when the print was created

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 1694
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:02 am

Hi Stumpy

A print from a negative would be treated as a copy and thus, assuming that it was an authorised copy, it would carry the same copyright protection as the original negative. This is somewhat analogous to a work of literature, where the original manuscript is protected by copyright which then goes onto to include the printed book made from the manuscript. The difference, under the 1911 Act, was that if a manuscript remained unpublished, then the copyright term did not start until it was published, whereas section 21 which deals with photographs made no such stipulation, and therefore it applies in the same way to published and unpublished photographs.

And yes, the copyright term starts from the point at which the negative was made, that is to say when the photograph was taken, not when the negative was developed.
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

Stumpy
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:07 am

Post by Stumpy » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:48 am

Very helpful, Andy. Thank you.

Post Reply