Time limit on copy rights

Dancinbaer

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Apr 26, 2002
Posts
1,268
From
De Pere, WI
I uploaded to Wal-Mart a scanned and touched up photo of my granparents wedding picture. I received a phone call from Wal-Mart to tell me I needed a release from the photographer for them to process it. I explained the photo was probably 100 years old and it's a good chance the photographer is probably dead. According to their policy I still needed a release from the photographer. The photo had no signiture or trademark on it. The Wal-Mart associate explained "as long as it LOOKED professionally done, they could not process it."

Does anyone know if there is a time limit on copy rights in a case like this?

Thanks,
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Mar 20, 2001
Posts
7,395
From
Powell, OH
Anything prior to Jan 1, 1923 is Public Domain and thus has no copyright protection.
The laws start to get compicated after this but most items pre-1950s are also not protected but I would do a more detailed search on them.
 

D_Derbonne

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 12, 2001
Posts
5,345
From
Middleburg, FL
Take it somewhere besides WalMart.
This is evidently a store policy and the employees have no authority to override the decision.

We had to get a written release for an Olan Mills photo reprint that was over 30 years old.
Olan Mills releases the rights after a couple of years.
No amount of explanation would help until the written release was presented.
 

Barnett

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Posts
136
From
New Jersey
Another key date is 1972 or 73. Sorry I'm not exactly sure which. If you hired a photographer to do a portrait, a wedding or whatever before that date the work done was considered a commissioned work, you owned it and the copyright. After that date the photographer retains the rights.
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
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From
Canistota, SD USA
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Lost Cajun Chateaux
It's probably easier to just fill out the copyright release form and be done with it.

The PMA/PPFA has a really nice copyright document with several various release forms included. They also sell pads of the forms for those who need them on a regular basis. BTW, the copyright release forms are copyrighted.

Denny, I just sent a private email with an attachment.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Posts
15,946
From
Wautoma, WI USA
Originally posted by Barnett:
Another key date is 1972 or 73. Sorry I'm not exactly sure which. If you hired a photographer to do a portrait, a wedding or whatever before that date the work done was considered a commissioned work, you owned it and the copyright. After that date the photographer retains the rights.
Sorry Barnett, but this is wrong. Copyright does apply to photos prior to this date and AT NO TIME did commissioned work ever allow you the rights to the copyright. A work for hire agreement, which is different and would mean you are an employee of someone, would allow you the copyright to a photo.

Currently the copyright applies for the life of the maker or 50 years since a photo or any work of art was created unless the maker or their heirs reregisters the work. Our professional photographers trade group, the PPA, has fought very hard to protect photographers rights and educate both the public and photographers as to those rights.
 
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