Using images/newspaper cuttings from defunct newspapers and magazines

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Using images/newspaper cuttings from defunct newspapers and magazines

Post by Steve713465 »


I’m currently in the process of putting together a book about a local sportsman who played football professionally.

Much of his career took place in the 50s, 60s and 70s, so pretty much all the newspapers and magazines with images of him that I might like to use in this book project no longer exist.

What are the rules surrounding the use of images from old publications, and who would I need to contact in their absence?

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Re: Using images/newspaper cuttings from defunct newspapers and magazines

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Steve,

Even though the titles may not be published today, it is highly likely that they, and their associated intellectual property, were bought up by other publishers. Over the years such titles have become concentrated in fewer and fewer large publishers, although initially most local titles were taken over or bought out by their local rivals, as this made most sense in terms of the value of the archives of the defunct paper. I suggest a good starting point is this Wikipedia article and if that doesn't provide the information you need, contact the British Library.

As you are probably aware, a large proportion of the BL's newspaper archive is being digitized by Brightsolid (part of the DC Thomson company) and is available through the (paid for) website Since they say on their site "We work closely with copyright owners to protect their intellectual property rights, and always make our best efforts to identify the ultimate copyright owner for all in-copyright material on our site" they may also be able to identify the current owner of the copyright in a defunct title.

However all of that applies to the newsprint versions of old titles, ie the half tone illustrations printed in the actual paper. When it comes to tracking down the current whereabouts of the photo archives, you may have a much bigger problem on your hands as there are many separate collections. A good starting point if you want to find the original photographs would be the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies.
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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