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  1. #21
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stever View Post
    Question: What if I purchase and now own the negative? Have the rights of reproduction passed to me?

    Steve
    Nope, not unless you have been explicitly given or purchased those rights. As stated above (correctly in my opinion) owning a piece of artwork does not give the owner copyright to the artwork. In a practical matter, I agree that if someone sells negatives, in many or most cases they are not concerned about the possibility of them being printed by someone else. An example to the contrary is that occasionally I have seen framed and matted prints sold as an edition of one with the negative mounted with the print (an idea I am not wild about, but that isn't the issue here...). The person doing this is clearly not intending to transmit copyright to the buyer for them to reproduce the print. That would make the whole cache of it being an edition of one kind of a moot point.

    Another issue is that copyright needs to be defended by the owner, and if the owner doesn't care, there may be copyright, but for all intents and purposes there isn't, because the owner won't defend it if you make copies. It's not the same as a piece being put in the public domain, and probably not good enough for a smart publisher, but the effect is the same nonetheless.

    As with the other folks that have posted here, I am not an attorney, but the issue of copyright not following the ownership of a negative is pretty clear in my mind.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner View Post
    It needs to be pointed out that even if you own the copyright of an image, you may not own the right to use the likeness of a person pictured in the photograph depending on the disposition of the person, and the circumstances of said photograph. In the simplest sense, if I photograph you, I certainly hold the copyright to the photograph, but without a release for your image, there are limitations as to how I might use that photograph and that liability may in fact be of some concern to the OP.

    This is a very good point. It gets kind of complicated. If I photograph you on a public thoroughfare or in a public space, I do not need your permission to publish the picture in my newspaper or book as editorial or creative content. I cannot use the same picture of you to sell a product, however.
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  3. #23
    jstraw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner View Post
    I wish I could give a better reply, but my advice is to consult a copyright lawyer. It sounds like you have a good collection, and having professional advice in regard to sorting out how you may use it would be worth the effort.
    I agree.
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  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjaded View Post
    That, to my mind, is where my question stems. These were all taken long before Jan 1978, and if I remember right the previous copyright laws were much shorter . If the copyright is expired, does that make them public domain or can someone (me in this case) register them now (not that I would...)
    Generally speaking, if the copyright had not expired before 1978, it would be covered by the 1978 law (and subsequent revisions). Once a work's copyright has expired and enters the public domain, it can't be recopyrighted. So if the pictures were taken before, say, the early 1950s, they might be PD. But for more specific answers, you would have to know when the pictures were taken, and consult a copyright lawyer.

  5. #25

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    Thank Disney for the ever increasing copyright lengths. Every time Mickey Mouse gets close to being put into public domain Disney lobbies to have the term extended. It used to be the life of the author/creator plus 25 years. Then it was 50 years. Now it's 70 years.

  6. #26
    Craig's Avatar
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    Here is the Canadian copyright site, its much better to use than the USPTO's site: http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/sc_mrksv/c...gd_main-e.html

    The guide explains the basics of copyright, which are pretty much the same around the world, certainly between the US and Canada.

    It's worth noting that copyright is a form of intellectual property, just like patents and trademarks are also IP. That means that the copyright is intangable property that can be bought and sold seperatly from the physical work that the copyright is protecting. Thus if you buy a box of slides at a garage sale, you don't necessarly own the copyright.

    There are special rules for photographs that determine the length of the copyright protection, depending upon who the creator is. There can be authors who are natural people, and two different types of corporations, depending upon the ownership of the voting shares.

    Another concept important to us is Moral Rights. Essentialy what this is, is if you sell a copyright to someone they are not allowed to distort, mutilate or otherwise modify your work in a way that is prejudicial to your honour or reputation.

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