|Copyright of photos, ads, etc. contained in other publications|
If the publication is public domain, is everything else too?
I've got some older publications (books, magazines, and event programs mostly) that I am quite sure are now public domain. I'd like to publish them on the web, not so much to make money but to share them with others (I realize that doesn't necessarily change anything).
My question is this: If a magazine is in the public domain, are the photos or advertisements contained in that magazine also in the public domain? I've tried to do a little research on this but so far all of the information I've found has treated the elements separately.
For example, various references discuss photos and their "date of publication". If they are published in a document on a certain date, is that the "date of publication"? Or would I have to try to track down the copyright holder of each individual photo to get permission?
Thanks for any assistance.
On what basis are you "quite sure" that these items are now public domain?
On the basis of a careful reading of the copyright laws and researching the status of each item. Granted, I'm not an intellectual property attorney but in most cases there is not much doubt.
Regardless, if a publication is determined to be in the public domain, what about the photos and/or advertisements within it?
My understanding of this is that if a printed publication falls into the public domain, then everything printed within the pages of it - from front cover to outside back cover - is also public domain.
That, as said, is only my understanding. A quick search on your favourite search engine for "public domain" brings up a raft of useful information and advice.
Usual disclaimers apply; I am not a lawyer because I am not smart enough.This is not legal advice. Go consult a specialist. Anyone taking my advice would probably need their head examined in the first place ;-)
Would it not be the case that permission was asked to include the items in question, which would not necessarily give permission for others to use them?
LOL - Syzygy
Welcome to Webmasterworld flyingpylon.
|would I have to try to track down the copyright holder of each individual photo to get permission? |
Magazines usually buy photos and articles for specific publication rights and the copyright is retained by the author.
In the case of advertisements the copyright is retained by the advertising company (depending on what arrangements are made for use of photos, illustrations, etc., between the company and artists).
You kind of answered Syzygy's question but not quite. So, to restate it, exactly why do you think that these publications are now in the public domain? That's the crux of the matter and we might be able to better guide you if you give us the basis for that assumption.
I'm even dumberer than Syzygy and don't even know how to pronounce lawyer. So, after having your head examined take a couple of aspirin and call a lawyer in the morning.
I appreciate everyone's effort to help.
I believe that these publications are in the public domain because they were published before 1964 and based on my research the copyrights were not renewed. Or, some were published before 1989 and do not have a copyright notice at all.
I think the crux is here: Flyingpylon said...
|...if a publication is determined to be in the public domain, what about the photos and/or advertisements within it? |
It is the fact that a page from a publication - within the public domain - is being reproduced. The content within the page is quite irrelevant. It is not the ad/illustration/whatever itself that is specifically being reproduced - but a page upon which it once appeared.
Again - this is only my understanding/interpretation and it's offered here for the purpose of discussion only.
Hmmm, yeah, I see your reasoning there, Syzygy. Makes a lot of sense.
|some were published before 1989 and do not have a copyright notice at all. |
Can't hang your hat on that one, flyingpylon. Works are protected by copyright whether or not a notice is included.
Also, In all your research you'll have to be sure that copyrights weren't renewed by a successor corporation, estate, individual.
|...published before 1989 and do not have a copyright notice at all. |
Sorry, that was posted whilst I was typing.
I'm presuming then that one has clarified whether any that were published without copyright notices between 1978 & 1989 sought to renew copyright in the five year period after the implementation of the Berne Convention?
This is where it gets complicated - thus specialist advice is needed.
The pre-1989 publications with no copyright notice are event programs published by the State Fair Board. I'm willing to risk that they were not published internationally.
I have two additional questions related to all of this:
Where would one find a copyright "specialist"?
What information or techniques would they have that were not available to the average U.S. citizen?
|Where would one find a copyright "specialist"? |
|What information or techniques would they have that were not available to the average U.S. citizen? |
1/ You need a copyright/intellectual property lawyer, methinks (I'm in UK, so can only presume for USA). I doubt they're hard to find :-)
2/ Er, without trying to sound smart, you don't really need that answered...
Good luck with this. If you do seek proper advice, why not share some of what you learn here in this Forum. I can't speak for others here, but I would be really interested to learn more.
|I believe that these publications are in the public domain because they were published before 1964 and based on my research the copyrights were not renewed. Or, some were published before 1989 and do not have a copyright notice at all. |
I'm not a lawyer, but...
On the magazines, I think that just because the magazine's copyright has expired, doesn't mean that the content's copyright has expired. The publisher may not have renewed the copyright on the magazine, but the authors or photographers may have renewed their copyrights on their respective works. In which case, some of the contents might still be protected.
As for works published before March 1, 1989, a notice was required between 1978 and 1989. But, just because you have something without the notice does not mean that it is now public domain. There were exceptions. For example, if a photographer gave permission for his copyrighted photograph to be used, and the person or group using that photo failed to put a copyright notice on the piece, the photograph does not fall into the public domain. Also, certain materials published during that time, like postcards, did not require a notice. If only a small number of the items were printed without the notice, and the majority were published with a notice, the item does not fall into the public domain. If the copyright holder registered within five years a copyright on a work published without a notice and made a good faith effort to contact people that may have had copies of that work without the notice, the work does not fall into the public domain.
So, from just having a single item in your possession without a notice, you cannot be sure that it is in the public domain. You'd have to research the copyright status.
The same goes for the magazines published before 1964--you'll need to research whether the individual contents (articles, photos) are still protected.
If you want to know a good book that covers Public Domain issues, sticky me.
Magazines can become a real sticky mess when it comes to expired copyright.. I tried several years ago to obtain permission to use a story from a 1950's sci-fi anthology as the basis for a game.. It was a story I had never heard, from an author I had never heard of in a magazine long since defunct and technically in the public domain..
After much searching and hiring of lawyers we finally determined that while the magazine itself was PD, most of the stories, including the one I wanted to use, were not.. The original authors either maintained their status, or had the rights purchased by someone else.. We eventually dropped the project because the original author saw dollar signs from what he thought was a money bucket of a small game company.. A percentage of the gross sales would have been cool, but a million dolar signing bonus was simply out of the question..
Thanks for your post. Your experience is the kind of scenario I'm afraid of. My project is simply to post some of this content on the web in the interest of historic preservation and sharing of information. The content itself would be freely available and though it might generate some traffic to my site, it would not generate any direct income at all. Right now the most unfortunate thing seems to be that I simply cannot afford to run out and hire an attorney to investigate the status of each work. So I have to either figure out how to do it myself or "shoot first and ask questions later" which is not terribly appealing. Meanwhile the stuff just sits there and nobody gets the opportunity to see and appreciate it at all.
Just an idea -- Would the material be of any interest to a historical preservation group that might have its own attorney or enough money to hire one? Some groups deal with this sort of thing fairly often. If your only interest is to have the material available on the web, an interested group may be happy to take it under its wing. For example, in some states there'd be an organization interested in historical items regarding state fairs.
If you want the material specifically on your site, that might take some negotiating, but could possibly be worked out.
what if you just put it up and see what happens?
the worst that can happen is that you'll get a cease and desist letter no?
especially if you published it with credit given to the mag, and with a disclaimer: this information is published under the yaddayadda act of 1492...