how do I trace the owner of copyright

Tracing copyright owners and asking permission.
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jhatter
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how do I trace the owner of copyright

Post by jhatter » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:41 am

Hi,

I wish to use some images from a book which is no longer in print. They would be used on a website I am producing.

To my knowledge the book was only published once in 1997. Through online searches it would appear that the publishing company is no longer trading and the author has sadly deceased.

In this case who would be the most likely owner of the copyright and how would I go about tracking them down to seek their permission?

If this should fail is it good enough to put a source credit (ie name of book, publisher & author) next to the images?

Thanks in anticipation of your replies.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:03 pm

hi jhatter,
This is a common problem, but because the book was published relatiively recently I think there is a good chance of tracking down the current owner of the copyright in the book itself (ie the publisher) first, from whom it may be possible to identify/find the artist pr photographer. Bear in mind that sometimes stock photographs may have been used to illustrate a book, especially if the photographer has not been given a separate credit in the book. If this seems likely, try searching the main picture libraries which specialise in the type of images whcih have been used. (Here is a useful starting point)
Initially I suggest you contact the Publishers Association to find out if there is a successor company which took over the assets of the previous publisher which no longer exists. If there is a successor publisher, they should be able to arrange a licence for you to use of the images. If that draws a blank, I suggest the next step is to try the Publishers Licensing Society to see if they have a record of the author's heirs or the person who benefits from the publishing rights. They in turn may be able to identify the artist or photographer responsible for the images which you want to use.
If neither of these turns up a useful lead you could try: the Society of Authors, then the Authors Licensing Society, in the hope they may have records of the author's heirs, and finally if you discover a name for the artist/photographer, but can't trace them or their heir, try the Design and Artists Collecting Society.
Last edited by AndyJ on Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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

jhatter
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Post by jhatter » Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:22 pm

Many thanks for your quick response and for the links to the society & association - I will try them.

For your information the book in question is about an artist so I know that all the pictures were produced by him (ie not stock shots). Also the publisher's address is now a residential property, which suggests to me that it was a very small business.

Best regards.

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