Old Photographs

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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retsecieluk
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Old Photographs

Post by retsecieluk » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:28 am

Hi I have various cabinet cards and CDVs All pre 1900. In most cases the Photographer and studio is listed. Can i scan and reproduce the images? are they all out of copyright?

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:01 pm

Hi retsecieluk

Under UK copyright law, you should be OK doing this as the photographs are no longer in copyright. However it seems probable that some of these images will have been produced by photographers of other (usually European) nationality, and so there could be some residual copyright in certain special cases in the county of origin. This won't affect you if you are intending to publish your scans from a UK base. As a matter of courtesy, it would be nice if you are able to credit the photographers where they are known, and this would certainly go some way to meeting French law (for example) concerning authors' moral rights, which in that jurisdiction are perpetual, unlike the UK where the right to be credited only lasts for as long as the actual copyright itself.
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

retsecieluk
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Post by retsecieluk » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:36 am

Thanks Andy
And am i correct in thinking anything prior to 1911 would fall under the 1842 act lifetime plus 7 years or 42 from publication.

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Post by Nick Cooper » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:11 pm

The 1911 Act was retroactive, so "converted" previous works from the old terms to the new ones. In the case of photographs specifically this was to creation plus 50 years.

retsecieluk
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Post by retsecieluk » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:18 pm

So a photograph taken in 1900 would then become life of the photographer plus fifty years?

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Post by Nick Cooper » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:45 pm

retsecieluk wrote:So a photograph taken in 1900 would then become life of the photographer plus fifty years?
"In the case of photographs specifically, this was to creation plus 50 years."

"Creation" means creation of the photograph, i.e. when it was taken. Photographic copyright was not linked to the life of the photographer in the 1911 Act. A photograph taken in 1900 would have expired at the end of 1950, even if the photographer was still alive at the time.

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Post by retsecieluk » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:16 pm

And if this was a print from a book 1900 would copyright be lifetime of author plus 50 years. Thanks your help.

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Post by Nick Cooper » Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:45 pm

retsecieluk wrote:And if this was a print from a book 1900 would copyright be lifetime of author plus 50 years. Thanks your help.
No, a photograph is a photograph, weather it is a physical print on photographic paper, or a print in a book. If the creation date is unclear, though, the publication date of the book can be taken as a starting point. For example, if a photograph in a 1900 book shows an event that must have taken place in 1895, then the copyright would have expired at the end of 1945. If, however, it is unclear when a photograph in a 1900 book was taken, it can be said to have expired at the end of 1950 at the latest.

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