Which country's copyright law is relevant?

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rmlaws54
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Which country's copyright law is relevant?

Post by rmlaws54 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:01 am

I have read through much of the valuable discussion on this website, and elsewhere. Yet I find I am left with this very basic question:

Suppose I, a resident of country A, publish a book in country B, and that book includes a photograph whose origin was country C.
Q: which country's copyright law do I need to respect?

To make the case concrete: I want to use a photograph that is of of New Zealand origin and is out of copyright in New Zealand. But this same image would still be in copyright if UK law applied (where I am resident and a citizen) and also in the USA (where I might publish it on amazon.com) if US copyright law applied.

Any guidance would be appreciated.

Robert Laws

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AndyJ
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Re: Which country's copyright law is relevant?

Post by AndyJ » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:37 am

Hi Robert

In most jurisdictions, the law will look at the country of origin of the work concerned, so in this case New Zealand. to determine the copyright term applicable. Within the EU among the member states, this principal is modified slightly by the Copyright Term Directive. Another exception to the general rule is the USA.

As far as publishing in the UK is concerned, UK law holds that it will not apply a longer term than would be available in the country of origin (see section 12(6) CDPA 1988).

In the USA there is no similar provision to s. 12(6), and the topic is further complicated by the USA's change in policy which occurred with the 1976 Copyright Act. Since I assume that the reason that the photograph is out of copyright in New Zealand is because the term there is the lifetime of the author plus 50 years, I'm also assuming that the author died over 50 years ago, ie before 1968. If this is correct then the photograph must have been created (although not necessarily published) prior to 1968. This means the old process for determining the length of copyright term in the USA will apply. The best way to calculate the term is to use this website: Cornell University
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

rmlaws54
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Re: Which country's copyright law is relevant?

Post by rmlaws54 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:31 pm

Thank you, that is very helpful.

This is information that not (AFIAK) routinely stated in 'introduction' to copyright.

Robert

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