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Another interesting Copyright question

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  • Another interesting Copyright question

    Now that we have thoroughly reviewed our copyright rules here is one we havent been over.

    Let's say you restore an antique photo that is out of its copyright. To whom did the copyright revert. Does the copyright renew itself in the name of the estate of the owner? (I dont think so). Is it now public domain? When one physically owns a photo that has no copyright does that person now have the copyright? (again, I dont think so). Which brings up an interesting point.

    If you restore a photo that has no copyright, have you not created an original work with that photo and therefore recreated a new copyright on that restored version of the photo and can claim rights to that version based on that new copyright. I distinguish here between a newly created copyright on newly created art compared with reinstated copyrights extended according to law on expiring copyrights.


  • #2
    Holy moly, and I thought the first copyright issue was a tough one to puzzle out. Yikes! That one could put the legal system in knots for years. However, I will say that I thought the minute you doctor it that doctored version becomes your copyright. It's basically photo based art isn't it?


    • #3
      Tex, I'm no expert, but to my understanding, every photo - whether it's taken by a professional photographer or by my 3 year old grandson has a copyright and whoever took the picture, owns it.

      Just like writing. If I write something, the act of my writing it creates the copyright - I don't need to do anything else, I don't need to "register" it or make arrangements with any government body, I wrote it, it's copyrighted, I own the copyright. If anyone else tries to pass my work off as theirs, they're gonna be in trouble. Although I don't need to register the work, I do need to be able to prove that it was mine and when I produced it. I own the copyright for my life span and for 50 years after I die (I guess after I die, it would belong to my estate)

      In Canada, the copyright for a photograph is owned by the photographer and continues for 50 years after the photo was taken (not linked to the life span of the photographer)

      So In Canada, at least, if a photo is 50 years old, there is no longer any copyright on it. In other words the ONLY photographs that have no copyright are ones that are at least 50 years old.

      I don't know what the law is in the US - Canada has a nice user-friendly website that explains it in English LOL



      • #4
        I was told by an Attorney that once out of copyright a photo enters the public domain catagory and that simply restoring the photo or making a copy doesnot qualify it for copyright unless it is changed in some fundamental way ( what ever that means).
        I know that in the case of old records, the owner of the original copy can make a copy for their own use but a restored version of the music, burned to CD enters the copyright domain.
        What this all means I have no idea...The legal system is so convoluted any more that even if the Law says something is legal some shifty Lawyer type varmint will find a way to subvert it. Tom


        • #5
          An expired copyright does not 'revert' to anyone. Once a copyright is gone, it's gone.
          Learn by teaching
          Take responsibility for learning


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