what constitutes publication?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
Post Reply
Fred4
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2024 6:47 pm

what constitutes publication?

Post by Fred4 »

Hi, I'm interested in old railway posters and would like to use images of them on my website.

1) If they were created by employees or one-off contracts are they all covered by s11(2)?
2) If the answer to 1) is yes then I'm assuming copyright lasts for 70 years after publication under s12(3) even though the artist is known?
3) In determining the date from which the period starts to run, did putting a poster on a billboard at a railway station constitute publication?

Thanks.
User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 2993
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Re: what constitutes publication?

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Fred and welcome.

Yes if the author of the work was employed to create it then copyright belongs to his employer. There are some borderline cases in which the work might be said to have been created not in the course of someone's work duties, but I don't think that's relevant here.

Unfortunately, unlike the USA where there is a specific 95 year term for works which were made under the work for hire conditions (pretty much the same as section 11(2) in the UK), the copyright term in the UK is based on the lifetime of the author unless their identity is truly unknown, even after conducting diligent research. So for example the fact that author or artist's name is not shown on the poster is not sufficient to say they are unknown if experts in railway poster art could know by looking at it that it was the work of a particular artist etc.

However if you think that section 12(3) might apply, then the period of protection runs from the date the work is made available to the public, so yes displaying a poster to the public on a display board would count for those purposes.
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
Fred4
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2024 6:47 pm

Re: what constitutes publication?

Post by Fred4 »

Thanks, Andy. It clarifies a lot. Fortunately my favourite artist's works will be out of UK copyright in 2030.
Post Reply