Cartoon from Punch 1908

Tracing copyright owners and asking permission.
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Grampy
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Cartoon from Punch 1908

Post by Grampy »

Hi

I am writing an academic textbook and want to incorporate a cartoon first published in Punch in 1908, called 'The Caravan Craze' The artist, George Morrow, died in 1955, so I presume copyright still exists under the 70 year rule..

Although I have found copies of the cartoon for sale as framed pictures, I can't trace who holds copyright in the original. It isn't on the Punch website, nor can I find it in the British Library collection.

Any suggestions?
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AndyJ
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Re: Cartoon from Punch 1908

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Grampy,

Yes I think it would be wise to assume that the cartoon is still in copyright. As for tracing the current owner of the rights, as you have searched the British Library archive and www.punch.co.uk without success, the only other place I can suggest is the Gale archive. The way the original Punch content was divided up between the various parties is somewhat confusing, and so I don't know whether there are any other repositories which you could search. If the Gale archive gets you no further, I would suggest contacting the British Library and trying to speak to/correspond with the curator of their Punch collection as that person will no doubt have some knowledge about the other parts of the total archive.

If all that fails to produce a source from whom you can obtain a licence, you may need to conduct a diligent search to try to find the heirs of George Morrow. There is an entry on the Probate search website for a George Morrow of Thaxted, Essex who died on 18 Jan 1955 but I have no idea if this is the artist of the cartoon. If it was, probate was granted to Arthur Graham Blunt, solicitor, and Mabel Smith spinister. Ultimately if you cannot trace any copyright owner following a reasonably diligent search, you could apply for an orphan works licence from the Intellectual Property Office which would allow you to re-publish the cartoon without incurring liability for infringement.
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Grampy
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Re: Cartoon from Punch 1908

Post by Grampy »

That's a very helpful response! Thank you very much.

I'll pursue this as you suggest.

Grampy
arnolfini
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Re: Cartoon from Punch 1908

Post by arnolfini »

Hello
I'm in a similar position, intending to use in an academic book a cartoon from Punch from 1901 by the artist Leonard Raven-Hill (1867-1942). Now, since the artist has been dead for more than 70 years, could I reproduce the cartoon on the basis that copyright has expired?
Thank you.
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AndyJ
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Re: Cartoon from Punch 1908

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Arnolfini,

Yes, you can copy and re-use the original cartoon. However, take care over where you source the cartoon, or more accurately, a digital version of it. This is because some bodies which have scanned and digitized the cartoons often claim to hold copyright in the digital copy, because, they say, they have created a new work. Such claims usually fail to stand up because the scanning process employed lacks the necessary human creativity which is a key ingredient for copyright*. However since these bodies make money from licensing their digital images, they will often threaten to sue for copyright infringement, even though they know they are on shaky ground legally speaking, in order to protect their business model.

Therefore if you can find an original printed version of the cartoon and make your own digital copy you should avoid the hassle of becoming embroiled in legal threats. I imagine that there a a good number of libraries and archives which still retain original Punch magazines from which a scan or digital photograph can be made.


* See page 3 of this Copyright Notice from the Government's Intellectual Property Office for more details about scanned images of older, out-of-copyright images.
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arnolfini
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Re: Cartoon from Punch 1908

Post by arnolfini »

That is most helpful - thank you.
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doghistorian
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Re: Cartoon from Punch 1908

Post by doghistorian »

I also have a similar question, please - I need to sort out copyright for publishing a cartoon from Punch, 24 January 1906 in an academic textbook. Here is a link to an online commercial source for the image.

https://www.topfoto.co.uk/asset/3216825

I actually have a physical copy of the relevant volume myself, and have scanned it myself, in the hope of avoiding copyright issues. But having read this thread, I now realise I also need the author's name and date of death. If I look at the image, it seems to be written on the fence behind the characters, running vertically, and looks to me like 'Jassel' or 'Jasser' - but I can't find any information about an artist with this name. Could anyone help, please, or explain what I need to do if the artist is not known?

Thank you very much!
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AndyJ
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Re: Cartoon from Punch 1908

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Doghistorian,

I can't help you with an identification of the artist, but I can try to assist with your query about what happens when an artist is either anonymous or as in this case, possibly pseudonymous or just plain, unknown.
Section 9 (4) and (5) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 define an unknown author or artist as follows:
(4) For the purposes of this Part a work is of “unknown authorship” if the identity of the author is unknown or, in the case of a work of joint authorship, if the identity of none of the authors is known.

(5) For the purposes of this Part the identity of an author shall be regarded as unknown if it is not possible for a person to ascertain his identity by reasonable inquiry; but if his identity is once known it shall not subsequently be regarded as unknown.
Note that the use of the present tense means that the evaluation is one that is made in the present day, not the situation which would have applied when the work was first published.

So once you have carried out a reasonable inquiry and come up with nothing, you can then apply section section 12 (3) to determine the duration of copyright. This subsection says that you take the date of publication as your starting point and come forward 70 years to arrive at the date that this particular engraving entered the public domain.
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Nick Cooper
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Re: Cartoon from Punch 1908

Post by Nick Cooper »

The cartoonist is James Frank Sullivan, who signed his work as "Jassef."

https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/sear ... van-jassef

He died in 1936, so obviously his works have been public domain in the UK since the end of 1986, before being briefly revived between 1996 and 2006.

I don't think one has to be cynical to note that the Punch image website rarely identifies artists, precisely because that would more easily enable people to work out which illustrations are public domain, and thus can be more cheaply reproduced by obtaining an original issue, rather than coughing up a licensing fee!
Last edited by Nick Cooper on Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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AndyJ
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Re: Cartoon from Punch 1908

Post by AndyJ »

Good bit of sleuthing, Nick. Well done.
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doghistorian
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Re: Cartoon from Punch 1908

Post by doghistorian »

Thanks very much (belatedly!) for your help with this - very useful!
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