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Posted by M. Arthur Auslander on April 26, 2000 at 10:17:24:
In Reply to: photographs posted by alex lodner on April 26, 2000 at 08:55:29:
: I am trying to gain non-exclusive, one time rights to an old photograph. This photo appears on numerous web sites and I have contacted them all, yet no one has the rights to it. Clearly, this photo is being used without permission. The question is, at what point does a photo become public domain, I have no way of knowing how old the photo is, except I can guess it's less than 75 years old. Any information on the legal issues involved here would be greatly appreciated.
The law in regard to your problem is very complex. There are many reasons that may put the photo in the public domain, including its age. Even if the photo was to old to be registered for a copyright, a reproduction of it may be registered. Copying the reproduction may be an infringement.
It may be cheaper and safer to go to a place like the Bettman Archive and pay for what you want. If you are on the wrong end of a copyright suit, there can be statutory damages and legal fees as part of your cost.
There is no safe way to avoid getting good legal advice. What you need is a lawyer you can trust and afford.
My saying is lawyers are to clients like women are to men. You can't live with them and you can't live without them. I'm not a male chauvinist pig. You can reverse the gender.
M. Arthur Auslander
The Intellectual Property Law Server
Old Copyright Forum