Copywrite question
/forum/topic/1181161/0



dweverett
Registered: Nov 18, 2012
Total Posts: 62
Country: United States

My mother-in-law asked my wife to have a bunch of old pictures scanned and copies sent to her kids. Most are home pictures but a couple dozen or so are professional portraits. Most of those are from the 50s. I'm not sure if there is a duration on copywrites. We definately won't be getting a release -- the photographer has long since passed away. She's planning on using a service for the scanning -- curious if that's likely to be an issue.

Bill



kluckie
Registered: Apr 20, 2006
Total Posts: 660
Country: United States

I'm no lawer but I'm pretty sure that if you aren't selling the photos you will be fine with scanning them.



fgransee
Registered: Jan 19, 2011
Total Posts: 130
Country: United States

I would not worry about copyright in this particular situation ... there is no realistic expectation that anyone would feel that his or her rights have been violated or that a business is missing out on a certain service they would otherwise sell. That photographer, if alive, would most likely not have the negatives anymore after some 60 years .... and your relatives are possibly not celebrities who are planning to sell their scanned childhood portraits to a glamour magazine either.



GCasey
Registered: May 30, 2006
Total Posts: 1251
Country: United States

I am also not an attorney and agree with the first two comments. There is a limitation of 70 years on copyrights. The scanning service might have a question, so it would be good to have as much information about the original photographer as possible when the prints are presented.



friscoron
Registered: Oct 07, 2009
Total Posts: 5286
Country: United States


The problem is that back then they did not hand you a Personal Use License with your prints and JPGs on a CD. Personal Use Licenses did not exist as the photographers had the only means (the negatives) of reproducing the image. So I really doubt that any scanning service is going to require proof of licensing rights on a print from 40 or 50 or 60 years ago, or whenever. You should be fine.



dweverett
Registered: Nov 18, 2012
Total Posts: 62
Country: United States

Thanks all,

Hopefully it won't be an issue. Worst case I'll scan those myself. I only have a multi-function printer so not a great scanner but for the purpose its probably good enough

Bill



alohadave
Registered: Jul 26, 2005
Total Posts: 843
Country: United States

In general, after about 1935ish, you had to register the pictures for copyright protection, then you had to renew it periodically until the copyright laws were changed in the 70's.

Even if both things were done, if the company or owners aren't in business anymore, you aren't going to be sued by anyone, and unless the company doing the scanning is over zealous, it won't be a problem.



Access
Registered: Jun 07, 2004
Total Posts: 1508
Country: United States

It's pretty complicated but here is a link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_the_United_States#Duration_of_copyright

Works published or registered before 1978 currently have a maximum copyright duration of 95 years from the date of publication, if copyright was renewed during the 28th year following publication[33] (such renewal was made automatic by the Copyright Renewal Act of 1992; prior to this the copyright would expire after 28 years if not renewed). The date of death of the author is not a factor in the copyright term of such works.



lukeb
Registered: Nov 13, 2010
Total Posts: 1859
Country: United States

friscoron wrote:

The problem is that back then they did not hand you a Personal Use License with your prints and JPGs on a CD. Personal Use Licenses did not exist as the photographers had the only means (the negatives) of reproducing the image. So I really doubt that any scanning service is going to require proof of licensing rights on a print from 40 or 50 or 60 years ago, or whenever. You should be fine.


+1



escandon23
Registered: Oct 22, 2012
Total Posts: 34
Country: United States

great session....life of the creator + 70 years after death and your estate has rights......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqDCIqOCDdM&feature=share&list=LLSX6KXoTA1VPgLaJLDGVSYg



sozypozy
Registered: Jan 02, 2013
Total Posts: 600
Country: United States

If they are home pictures and you're just giving them to your family, I don't think there would be an issue. As long as you're not selling them or anything.



Harkness1553
Registered: Feb 23, 2012
Total Posts: 3
Country: United States

Bill,

Though I'm a lawyer in my day job (with a minor in ethics) please note that this does NOT constitute legal advice.

I would highly suggest that you find the estate of the deceased photographer, and contact them to request permission to use the photographs that the photographer worked so hard to create ex nihilo. After all, when your in-laws paid the photographer to take their photos, they weren't simply commissioning the guy's service of capturing their likeness in a 2-D projection on some physical medium. Oh no. What they were actually doing was DONATING money for the PRIVILEGE of working as the photographer's models so that the photographer can create and own the photos and control everything that happens to the photos henceforth.

After all, it takes an UNIMAGINABLE amount of creativity, hardwork, and sacrifice (perhaps even the ultimate sacrifice) to tell some people to pose a certain way, set up some lights, and push the shutter release. If you now simply make a duplicate of these photos (which your in-laws already paid for, and which have no value to ANYONE ELSE BUT THE FAMILY), you are disrespecting the photographer who OWNS those photos. Even if the law says the copyright has elapsed, it would be UNETHICAL to copy those photos.

In fact, I take back what I said previously about requesting permission from the photographer's estate. You should simply contact the estate, inform them of your appreciation of the artistic genious that went into those photographs, and then donate those photos back to the proper ownership of the estate.

After all, that's how it works in all other professions. In Hollywood, the camera operators own the footage to the movies they shoot. Any editing, production, or release must first obtain the blessing of the camera operator. In contracting (for example our recently remodeled bathroom), the contractor owns the actual bathroom. We don't actually get the use the bathroom (even though we paid the contractor to do the work), since the contractor owns it. But each morning we walk by the bathroom door, admire the beautiful work, and go outside to to do our business in a hole in the front yard.

This is the standard in all other industries, so why is it some people think they own the photos that they paid the photographer to take? An outrage.

In my business model, I actually charge clients by "the look". What I mean is they incur a fee each time they LOOK at my image. Brides love this concept, since they actually save money in the long run. However, I've found that some people are sneaking around my ownership of their wedding photos by not actually looking at the photo, but by simply THINKING about it. As anyone with any knowledge of brain physiology knows, just thinking about something actually generates a low resolution residual image in the visual cortex. That sounds like COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT to me. I'm now currently working on a way of being able to detect, and thereby charge for, the thinking of any of my images. I'm pretty close.

Can you imagine a world where people actually OWN the things they pay for? That would be utter anarchy. Owning a home? Outrage! Everyone knows that real estate and homes should properly belong to the bankers; people shouldonly be allowed to rent. We're not quite there yet, but we'll get there soon (and get rid of these evil concepts of "free" and "sharing").




martines34
Registered: Jun 23, 2008
Total Posts: 2998
Country: United States

American Society of Media Photographers

About ASMP:

The American Society of Media Photographers is the premier trade association for the world’s most respected photographers. ASMP is the leader in promoting photographs’ rights, providing education in better business practices, producing business publications for photographers and helping to connect purchases with professional photographers. For more information, visit www.asmp.org

About CCC:

Representing copyright holders from nearly every country in the world, CCC is a global rights broker for millions of the world’s most sought after materials, including in- and out-of-print books, journals, newspapers, magazines, images, blogs and ebooks. For more information, visit www.copyright.com.



DragonG
Registered: Jan 22, 2012
Total Posts: 5
Country: United States

Go to www.copyright.gov and you should be able to find an answer.