COPYRIGHT

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Melnyk
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COPYRIGHT

Post by Melnyk » 02 Feb 2004 20:06

Hello

to anyone who is interested, I work in a Court in England have daily contact with Judges, barristers and solicitors many of whom I know well.

Prior to publishing my own book, I researched the issue of copyright in the court library together with two judges, after someone threatened to take me to court if I used one of his photos (as it turned out it was MY photo!). Consequently I have copies of all the relevant statues convering copyright in Great Britian for reference purposes.

I do not wish to become embrioled in a huge debate on this issue but is essence the situation regarding photographic copyright in GB is as follows.

The owner of the ORIGINAL NEGATIVE, is the true owner of the copyright.

In the event of the negative being lost (clearly this applies to most wartime material), the copyright belongs to whoever owns the OLDEST PRINT. This also applies to multiple copies (for example whichever print can forsentically be proven to be the oldest of the batch -fortunately it seldom gets that far in court). That is to say, if some joker nicks one of my photos without permission (and I own the original wartime prints of most of them), he is on to a hding to nothing and I would certainly have no hesitation in prosecuting.

Being the subject matter of the photo does not make you the owner or give you any right as regards copyright.

Hope this helps

Mike Melnyk

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_The_General_
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Post by _The_General_ » 02 Feb 2004 20:11

Very intressting, thank you,

Are there differences between brittisch and Dutchs law on this subject?

Melnyk
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Post by Melnyk » 02 Feb 2004 20:39

good question. I do not know Dutch law, however having discussed this matter and the interpretation of the laws with two judges the conclusion was the same PRINCIPALS would probably be true in most countries including the USA. To be absolutely sure you would have to check with a legally trained person from the country in question.

Mike

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 02 Feb 2004 22:20

Mike, isn't the point of owning the negative or oldest print a matter of proof, rather than whom actually hold the copyright? AT least in the US, copyright can't be transferred unless it is specifically stated that the copyright is transferred...

Do you happen to be able to ask them when copyright expires on photographs in England?

Christian

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Xavier
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Post by Xavier » 02 Feb 2004 23:01

well, I did some searching in the local University library inspired by this post and the results are. (translated from spanish).

"in accordance with international law, published picture's rights expire 50 years after the date the first edition of the works (?) was published....."

from the 2004 edition of mexican copyright law ("ley de derechos de autor")

also, by reading some other parts in the mexican law, I understood copyright rights applies only to the complete published work, not to the parts (ie: quotes and individual pictures)

best regards

Xavier
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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 02 Feb 2004 23:10

That is very similar to the Danish and Norwegian law.

By 'work' is meant the photograph itself. A photograph is a 'work', as is a piece of text or a movie, so it is 50 years after the photo was first published (which it would more or less be by being developed).

Christian

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Post by Melnyk » 02 Feb 2004 23:29

I was trying to avoid this but here goes.

From HALSBURY’s LAWS OF ENGLAND Volume 9,

“Copyright exists in all original artistic work [* my note - for example photographs]. It belongs to the ‘author’.” “’Photograph means any product of photography or of any process akin to photography, other than part of a cinematograph film. ‘Author’ in relation to a photograph means the owner, at the time when the photograph is taken, of the material on which it is taken” [* my note – this means if I provide the film for you to take a picture with your camera – I own the copyright].

This is verbatim.

From memory, if no original negative existed, then the copyright of the ‘artistic work’ that is the ‘picture’, reverted to the oldest print in existence. The owner of the oldest print was de facto the owner of the copyright.

Duration of copyright was never an issue for me, so I would have to check. What concerned me is ‘Ownership’. Basically, I obtained images from a Waffen-SS vet of the 14 Galician Division who lives in the USA. I considered using them. He got wind of this and stated he owned the copyright and would take me to court for breach of copyright. Unlucky for him I did my homework and as luck would have it I found the original negatives of the photos he had. This wasn’t quite so impossible as it sound because this happened to be the last film shot by a Kriegsberichter taken in the last week of the war and first few days of capitulation. Hence the film survived and found its way to the veterans official archive and subsequently to me.

As the ‘owner’ of the film, I was the new copyright holder even though he was in many of the pictures, and to add icing to the cake it transpired that because of the laws here in England, HE could not use those pictures without my permission!

I hope this helps

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 02 Feb 2004 23:48

Aren't you contradicting yourself? According to your law book, the copyrighht resides with the one who owns the film on which the photo is taken.

At the same time, you are saying that the copyright resides with the new owner of the photograph (or negative, if such exist).

Transferred to e.g. books, that would mean that you would own the copyright if you buy the original manuscript, or oldest copy of the book in existance...

In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, the general rule is that the author, i.e. the person who created the work, is the first owner of the economic rights under copyright. This rule also applies to commissioned works. However, where such a work is made in the course of employment, the employer is the first owner of these rights, unless an agreement to the contrary has been made with the author.

http://www.intellectual-property.gov.uk ... o_owns.htm

Another place (point three and four):
http://www.patent.gov.uk/copy/indetail/ownership.htm

Christian

Melnyk
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Post by Melnyk » 03 Feb 2004 00:22

Aren't you contradicting yourself? According to your law book, the copyrighht resides with the one who owns the film on which the photo is taken.

Yes correct.

At the same time, you are saying that the copyright resides with the new owner of the photograph (or negative, if such exist).

Yes correct. That is to say the copyright is transferred with the ownership of the negative / print.

Transferred to e.g. books, that would mean that you would own the copyright if you buy the original manuscript, or oldest copy of the book in existance...

No not necessarily. I was writing about photographs in isolation. You would have to check the exact laws governing the copyright of a 'text' or 'book' or other artistic 'work'. These all have sub-divisions that would have to be explored.

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Re: COPYRIGHT

Post by Paddy Keating » 03 Feb 2004 05:22

Melnyk wrote:The owner of the ORIGINAL NEGATIVE, is the true owner of the copyright.


Usually but not always. I have seen stand-offs in which a publisher will own a negative or transparency, having paid for the materials, while the photographer or 'author' of the image owns copyright. This is why no experienced photographer ever supplies negatives or original trannies to publishing houses, even if they have paid for the films and other materials. I have had to fight photographers sometimes to get them to supply something better than a second generation trannie for a magazine article. But at the same time, I understand their position. As a writer, I retain copyright in everything I have ever written. Nobody gets more than One Use.

Regarding wartime photographs, I collect photography. I refute the claims of most agencies that they own copyright in many of the images on their books. On one occasion, I had trouble with an agency over my use of a wellknown WW2 image shot by a German PK photographer. They reckoned they owned the copyright. I dealt with it quite simply by having our lawyer send them a terse letter insisting that they produce the signed, notarised assignation of copyright necessary for them to claim copyright ownership. Usually that is the end of it with these shysters.

In this case, the agency replied in due course saying that they were a government organisation and that, therefore, copyright in the images which had - allegedly - been owned by the government of the Third Reich as the photographer's employers had passed to them by default as part of the modern German government.

So I sat down and fired off a letter to them pointing out that the Nazi government had been declared illegal and asking if it was, in fact, their position that the modern German government now recognised the Nazi government as a legitimate predecessor. I also pointed out that the image in question had been reproduced from a wartime print in my possession, bearing the copyright stamp of a long-defunct Austrian news agency.

They did not bother us again. The fact is that it is very hard to establish copyright ownership in many images from WW2, particularly those of German origin. Interestingly, the SS photo-journalist Adolf Kunzmann, who served with SS-Fallschirmjäger-Btl 500, asserted his copyright in the 1950s by stamping prints of his wartime photographs with his studio and copyright stamp. This was before the Hague Convention and other legislation making it easier for artists to protect their copyright from rapacious publishers.

Paddy Keating

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 05 Feb 2004 11:25

Since the discussion somewhat changed subject, I've moved the posts about royalties to a new topic

Christian

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Germania
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Post by Germania » 05 Feb 2004 17:04

Is there any law which works in general or depends all of this on the regional law of your country or state?

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Dora
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Post by Dora » 29 Nov 2004 03:15

All,
I find this discussion of copyrights and ownership quite interesting. I'm finishing a manuscript (to be published in the US) on the eastern front and have quoted paragraphs and at times whole pages from various books (and have given credit to the sources by footnoting and citing the source: title, author, publisher and date.) Is what I have done in violation of copyright law, particularly US copyright law? Thanks in advance.
Dora

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Post by Germania » 29 Nov 2004 17:12

I think yes but don´t know it exactlly because you must have the yes or no from the author or printing house of the book when you use parts out of such works.

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stril
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Post by stril » 30 Nov 2004 22:00

Hello Dora
I add a link that might be useful, it kind of answer your question.
http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

regards
stril

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