Question on copyrights

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Patrick L., Apr 4, 2004.

  1. Patrick L.

    Patrick L. Guest

    "Don" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In pursuing genealogy data I often come across old family photos clearly
    > taken by a professional studio, although not always marked as such. In

    some
    > cases I have tried to track down the studio or the current owner of the
    > copyrights, but with 50-year-old (or more) pictures it is usually not
    > possible. In one instances I was able to find the studio, and in another

    I
    > was able to find the current owner of the copyright, but in both cases I

    was
    > told they did not retain the negatives that long.
    >
    > My question is, is there a legal solution to making copies of these, or
    > barring that, how do you professionals out there recommend I handle it?
    >
    > Don
    >
    >
    >




    Don't worry about it, unless the original photographer complains

    However, IAKAL.

    Patrick
     
    Patrick L., Apr 4, 2004
    #1
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  2. Patrick L.

    Don Guest

    In pursuing genealogy data I often come across old family photos clearly
    taken by a professional studio, although not always marked as such. In some
    cases I have tried to track down the studio or the current owner of the
    copyrights, but with 50-year-old (or more) pictures it is usually not
    possible. In one instances I was able to find the studio, and in another I
    was able to find the current owner of the copyright, but in both cases I was
    told they did not retain the negatives that long.

    My question is, is there a legal solution to making copies of these, or
    barring that, how do you professionals out there recommend I handle it?

    Don
     
    Don, Apr 4, 2004
    #2
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  3. Patrick L.

    Jim Garner Guest

    >
    > My question is, is there a legal solution to making copies of these, or
    > barring that, how do you professionals out there recommend I handle it?



    Under the Berne convention, copyright subsists for the life of the
    creator of the photo and for 50 years thereafter. It then goes in to the
    public domain.

    Problem is, up to a coupla decades ago, the United States was one of
    the few nations that had separate rules. The US now follows broadly the
    Berne convention but older works are still under the old rules, whatever
    they were. For instance, Irving Berlin held the copyright for
    "Alexanders Ragtime Band" for 75 years and was still alive when it expired
    (ie the copyright died before he did).

    And I read somewhere that "Happy birthday to you" was written in the 19th
    century but for some strange reason is still under copyright.

    In practical terms, no dead photographer is going to rise out of his
    grave and pursue you with a lawsuit and it's unlikely that his heirs will.
    Even it they do, the worst they can do is to demand payment for use of
    copyright.

    Finally when a client pays a photographer to take a picture, the client
    may also be buying the copyright. This is a grey area because often there
    is no documented agreement on this.



    --
    Jim Garner, sage and dogsbody. (filtered, see below).
    E-mail is filtered out unless subject line includes "GRAN"
    (613) 526-4786; 759B Springland, Ottawa, ON K1V 6L9 Canada
    "Buy the steak, not the sizzle"
     
    Jim Garner, Apr 4, 2004
    #3
  4. Patrick L.

    Chris Guest

    "Don" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In pursuing genealogy data I often come across old family photos clearly
    > taken by a professional studio, although not always marked as such. In

    some
    > cases I have tried to track down the studio or the current owner of the
    > copyrights, but with 50-year-old (or more) pictures it is usually not
    > possible. In one instances I was able to find the studio, and in another

    I
    > was able to find the current owner of the copyright, but in both cases I

    was
    > told they did not retain the negatives that long.
    >
    > My question is, is there a legal solution to making copies of these, or
    > barring that, how do you professionals out there recommend I handle it?


    Well, it seems to me you've made ample attempts to contact the holders of
    said copyright, and did they grant you permission? If so, go ahead and copy
    as per the agreements you've reached with them.
     
    Chris, Apr 4, 2004
    #4
  5. Patrick L.

    Charlie Self Guest

    Don writes:

    >In pursuing genealogy data I often come across old family photos clearly
    >taken by a professional studio, although not always marked as such. In some
    >cases I have tried to track down the studio or the current owner of the
    >copyrights, but with 50-year-old (or more) pictures it is usually not
    >possible. In one instances I was able to find the studio, and in another I
    >was able to find the current owner of the copyright, but in both cases I was
    >told they did not retain the negatives that long.
    >
    >My question is, is there a legal solution to making copies of these, or
    >barring that, how do you professionals out there recommend I handle it?
    >


    Prior to 1978 (give or take) copyrights had to be renewed after, IIRC, 28
    years, for a total of 56 years. Anything not renewed was in the public domain.
    I don't know what happened with things that were sort of in limbo when the law
    changed, but if you make an honest effort to find the copyright owner of 50+
    year old photos, I don't think you have a whole lot to worry about.

    If Phil Stripling is drifting by, he might have a more definitive answer fo
    ryour.

    Charlie Self
    "It is not strange... to mistake change for progress." Millard Fillmore
     
    Charlie Self, Apr 4, 2004
    #5
  6. Patrick L.

    Tom Monego Guest


    >All good answers but how do you convince a photo lab to make these prints if
    >you're wanting them on photo paper rather than inkjet. I had to talk long
    >and hard to get WalMart to make prints of a family group that I had taken
    >because they felt it looked like it was a studio shot.
    >Tom.


    Good arguement for a decent scanner and a Epson pigment or HP photo printer.
    Both will last longer than a Walmart print.
    If you don't want to get into this, write a note that says the studio that has
    destroyed the negs releases the copyrite, email it to the studio and ask them
    to print it on their stationary and send it back to you. You may have to pay
    something for the service $10 or so with a typical studio. If it is a major
    group like Bachrach they may not release it. The other alternative is to find
    a local independent lab that can be flexible, tell them about your project,
    show them the emails or letters saying the negatives no longer excist, so that
    they know you are making an effort. They will probably help you. Don't go in
    on a Saturday morning, or other time they may be busy, that will turn them off
    immediately.

    Good luck
    Tom
     
    Tom Monego, Apr 5, 2004
    #6
  7. Patrick L.

    John Navas Guest

    [POSTED TO rec.photo.digital - REPLY ON USENET PLEASE]

    In <L%ecc.2583$zh.1716@lakeread01> on Mon, 05 Apr 2004 15:34:03 GMT,
    (Tom Monego) wrote:

    >>All good answers but how do you convince a photo lab to make these prints if
    >>you're wanting them on photo paper rather than inkjet. I had to talk long
    >>and hard to get WalMart to make prints of a family group that I had taken
    >>because they felt it looked like it was a studio shot.

    >
    >Good arguement for a decent scanner and a Epson pigment or HP photo printer.
    >Both will last longer than a Walmart print.


    HP only beats Fuji Crystal Archive paper by a small margin, and then only with
    the latest HP ink on pricey HP photo paper -- when non-HP paper is used,
    longevity is greatly reduced.

    --
    Best regards,
    John Navas
    [PLEASE NOTE: Ads belong *only* in rec.photo.marketplace.digital, as per
    <http://bobatkins.photo.net/info/charter.htm> <http://rpdfaq.50megs.com/>]
     
    John Navas, Apr 5, 2004
    #7
  8. Patrick L.

    NoOne Guest

    Don wrote:
    > In pursuing genealogy data I often come across old family photos clearly
    > taken by a professional studio, although not always marked as such. In some
    > cases I have tried to track down the studio or the current owner of the
    > copyrights, but with 50-year-old (or more) pictures it is usually not
    > possible. In one instances I was able to find the studio, and in another I
    > was able to find the current owner of the copyright, but in both cases I was
    > told they did not retain the negatives that long.


    > My question is, is there a legal solution to making copies of these, or
    > barring that, how do you professionals out there recommend I handle it?


    > Don



    *Title__17__U.S.__Code*

    http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/
     
    NoOne, Apr 5, 2004
    #8
  9. Patrick L.

    Tom Monego Guest


    >
    >--
    >Best regards,
    >John Navas
    >[PLEASE NOTE: Ads belong *only* in rec.photo.marketplace.digital, as per


    John,
    Just saying that if he has problems with getting someone to copy the prints he
    has an alternative that won't fade in a year or so. The Epson 2200 is probably
    the best solution but it too is expensive to run. But if no one else will do
    the copying, hey my mother couldn't get someone to print my 2 1/4 2 3/4
    negative of a family gathering even with a note on my stationary, didn't want
    me to do it because it takes so long for me to do family stuff..... Well anyway
    if no one else will do the printing there is alternatives. If as with HP you
    use their paper it shouldn't be too difficult. That is what their driver is
    designed to do. I do wonder how archival Fuji Crystal archive is in in printers
    that may be less than well kept. Wilhelm debunked Kodaks new paper by finding
    out that they used an abnormally sry environment in their testing <20%
    hunidity. So on the tests taht give Epson and HP 70 year or so life the Kodak
    Endurachrome was 20 years. I know Fuji uses Wilhelm tests for their 65 year
    claim. Imperfect but really all we have now.
    Anyway price doesn't matter if you can't get the work done.

    Tom
     
    Tom Monego, Apr 6, 2004
    #9
  10. Patrick L.

    JC Dill Guest

    On Mon, 5 Apr 2004 00:31:40 -0500, "Tom" <>
    wrote:

    >All good answers but how do you convince a photo lab to make these prints if
    >you're wanting them on photo paper rather than inkjet.


    For photos more than 50 years old, what I would do is scan the photo,
    then submit the digital file for prints. If are asked about the
    copyright, say the photo was taken by a great uncle, deceased (and if
    asked, you are the heir).

    jc
     
    JC Dill, Apr 7, 2004
    #10
  11. Patrick L.

    Roger Guest

    On Mon, 5 Apr 2004 00:31:40 -0500, "Tom" <>
    wrote:

    >All good answers but how do you convince a photo lab to make these prints if
    >you're wanting them on photo paper rather than inkjet. I had to talk long
    >and hard to get WalMart to make prints of a family group that I had taken
    >because they felt it looked like it was a studio shot.
    >Tom.


    Tom,

    I just went through this with a rather recent 20 year-old photo. The
    sitting was done at a shopping mall kiosk and was fading badly. After
    doing all the work I could not find a mini-lab in my area to print the
    obvious "professional" picture. Even after taking in the photo and
    showing the attendants that there were no identifying marks from which
    to obtain a copyright release. Tried all my "people" skills, but the
    operators in three different labs were intractable. We were finally
    able to obtain a release letter from a major department store that no
    longer does photos at their store. We were able to have the photo
    printed at a local Frontier lab.

    I respect the intent of the copyright law but it does make it
    difficult to abide by it when you run into these special
    considerations.

    Regards,
    Roger
     
    Roger, Apr 7, 2004
    #11
  12. Patrick L.

    Mxsmanic Guest

    Roger writes:

    > I respect the intent of the copyright law but it does make it
    > difficult to abide by it when you run into these special
    > considerations.


    It's happening this way because a tremendous number of people have
    traditionally ignored copyrights and had stuff reprinted without getting
    permission. Some photographers sue now, so labs are wary of being sued
    for illegally reproducing their work.

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.
     
    Mxsmanic, Apr 7, 2004
    #12
  13. Patrick L.

    Roger Guest

    On Wed, 07 Apr 2004 18:31:25 +0200, Mxsmanic <>
    wrote:

    >Roger writes:
    >
    >> I respect the intent of the copyright law but it does make it
    >> difficult to abide by it when you run into these special
    >> considerations.

    >
    >It's happening this way because a tremendous number of people have
    >traditionally ignored copyrights and had stuff reprinted without getting
    >permission. Some photographers sue now, so labs are wary of being sued
    >for illegally reproducing their work.


    Exactly, but I've been in the situation where I've exhausted
    everything that is possible to obtain a legitimate reprint or a
    release and essentially there is no one, or organization, that can any
    longer exercise the copyright. This has happened on more than one
    occasion, where there are not copyright marks, photographer identifier
    or other marks or sources on the photos and they are still refused for
    reprint.

    I've even got a request into a wedding photographer for reprints for
    photos that are only 5 years old and he's having trouble placing his
    hands on the originals (I believe these were negatives). He's
    indicated that he would, for a charge, give me limited reproduction
    rights to the copies that I have. Unfortunately he supplied his copies
    only on matte paper. We're still talking and it's still friendly, but
    it's not very fast dealing with some providers. It's tough out there
    in consumer land :).

    I'm not advocating anything, but the industry has managed to copyright
    material that far exceeds it's ability to manage the original
    material. There are obvious exceptions, e.g. publishing houses and
    those providers that have well managed archives. But the rules extend
    to the business that are here and gone in a couple of years (or
    decades).

    Enough, enough, .....

    Regards,
    Roger
     
    Roger, Apr 7, 2004
    #13
  14. "Don" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In pursuing genealogy data I often come across old family photos clearly
    > taken by a professional studio, although not always marked as such. In

    some
    > cases I have tried to track down the studio or the current owner of the
    > copyrights, but with 50-year-old (or more) pictures it is usually not
    > possible. In one instances I was able to find the studio, and in another

    I
    > was able to find the current owner of the copyright, but in both cases I

    was
    > told they did not retain the negatives that long.
    >
    > My question is, is there a legal solution to making copies of these, or
    > barring that, how do you professionals out there recommend I handle it?
    >
    > Don


    I had that problem. I edit a publication, and wanted to use a photo from a
    newspaper that closed down many years ago. I spoke to a more experienced
    editor, and he said that in such a case he prints the photo with
    attribution. If the copyright owner complains (very rare), he publishes an
    apology.
     
    Marvin Margoshes, Apr 8, 2004
    #14
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