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(Message started by: Kirk J. Lodes on Aug 14th, 2005, 3:11pm)

Title: Photos for book manuscript
Post by Kirk J. Lodes on Aug 14th, 2005, 3:11pm
Hi, I have completed a book manuscript. The subject is cult feature films. I would like to include various photos: movie still, posters, lobby cards, etc. I am wondering if and how I get permission to use such items. For example, I purchase a reproduction of a movie poster...then I have to get permission to use it in my book, right? And would I have to pay for permission? What if a movie is in the public domain? Then can I use pictures/posters without permission?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Title: Re: Photos for book manuscript
Post by JSonnabend on Aug 15th, 2005, 8:01am
You question is deceptively complex.  As a threshold matter, you are generally free to use any work (e.g., each poster, film still, etc.) that is in the public domain.   You must asssess the status of the work in question, not any related work.  Thus, whether or not a paricular movie is in the public domain is largely irrelevant in determing whether a poster for that movie is in the public domain.

Second, even if some of the works are not in the public domain, you may be able to use reproductions of the works in yours under a fair use theory.  This inquiry is trickier, and should be answered only after a proper review of the current status of the law in this area.  Even then, the answer you receive is likely only to be an assessment of your risk, not a clear-cut "it's ok".

Finally, if you decide you do need or want permission for use, you may not have to pay royalties, or you may be able to negotiate royalty rates that are not prohibitive.

An attorney can help you through this maze, and many (myself included) do so at reasonable rates.

- Jeff

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