Copyright for photos of the turn of XX century

Advice for those new to the concepts of copyright
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Guillermo
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Copyright for photos of the turn of XX century

Post by Guillermo » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:40 am

Hi! I´m planing a show with photographs from the turn of XX century. The institution that holds the original plaques (uk based) charges a fix rate for every photograph, and they also charge reproduction rates as they claim to owe the copyright.

As I red in a website name artquest (I´m not allowed to post the links!) that "There is no copyright in photographs made before 31 December 1945"

but I also red in IPO website that copyright could be revived.

How can I know if the copyright of this photographs was revived?


thanks you very much,


Guillermo

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:30 pm

I presume you are talking about
When copyright terms were changed on 1 January 1996, the new terms were applied to many existing copyright works. All works that were still in copyright on 31 December 1995, and this includes works where copyright was about to expire, had copyright extended where the new rules on copyright terms gave a longer term. .....
- From the IPO site http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/copy/c-dura ... tended.htm

As it states, this is reffering to what happened when the copyright duration changed (extended - it used to be 50 years ) in 1996. If you stick to the legislation as it is now you shoiuld be fine. The only exception to the 70 year rule I know is Peter Pan.


The following link is to a handy flow-chart that should solve this for you http://www.museumscopyright.org.uk/private.pdf

Guillermo
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Post by Guillermo » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:58 pm

I still don´t get why this institution claims that they owe the copyright. could they be wrong? should I ask them about the duration of their copyright? how would be the polite way?

thanks!

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Post by CopyrightAid » Fri May 01, 2009 7:00 am

It is possible that copyright exists...

As the chart I linked to illustrates, if the author is known (it is not an anonymous work) copyright expires 70 years after the death of the author. i.e. even if the photo was taken in 1901, if the photographer lived until 1950, copyright would expire Dec 31st 2020 (70 years).

If the photos are from around 1900, then I would agree that seems likely that copyright is near the expiry or expired, (depending on when the photographer died).

The institution may well have been/is the copyright owner if the photos were left to them. If copyright has expired, they may simply not realise it.

One other thing to consider, even if the copyright has expired, if they are the only ones with access to create prints of the original can they attach conditions of use to the prints themselves? (i.e. thou shalt not duplicate).

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