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History, Conservation, and Repair The history of photographic prints, and how best to care for and repair them.

Postcards to Prints

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Old 10-21-2007, 04:21 PM
bcarll bcarll is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 85
Postcards to Prints

I've been asked to do something that might help my restoration hobby out a lot. (great advertising) They are needing someone to restore and reprint some old postcards from around the late 1800's to early 1900's. They are in bad shape but the task would be to restore and reprint at 8"X10" size to display in cabinets in a museum type setting. All prints are of local businesses and buildings in this town. My first question is -- how about copyright issues? One or two if I remember clearly have the photographers name on the postcard. But no studio or name is current in the town directory. Next question is -- will a lab print these due to copyright laws? I feel uneasy about doing this without knowing the law clearly and will not do this job if I am breaking copyright issues. note--Local WalMart refused to print one of my own photos because it looked to professional so they are being more strict about copyright and I'm happy about that. What was funny about that was my name (signature) were on the prints I needed. So how about commenting on the copyright issues I might face using postcards.

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Old 10-23-2007, 09:51 PM
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Alison Alison is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Sanctuary Point, N.S.W Australia
Posts: 314
Re: Postcards to Prints

Hi bcarll,

As long as you are not claiming the original work as your own, I don't see what the problem would be. The restoration work would be copyright to you though.

Perhaps a person from the museum would be better going with you to explain the situation.
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Old 11-05-2007, 03:16 PM
markfh markfh is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Houston
Posts: 9
Re: Postcards to Prints

Talk to an IP lawyer.

I asked a similar question of a lawyer that specializes in Intellectual Property (copyright in this case).

His response was that If I couldn't find the original publisher or if the original publisher wasn't bought out by someone else that's still around I MIGHT get away with scanning and publishing.

FWIW...My advise is if you can't afford to consult a lawyer then don't do it. If you do consult a lawyer do as he tells you. In these days it's just not worth the risk.
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