When does a published photograph or drawing become public domain?

+8 votes
1k views
I have a copy of a drawing, possibly of a photograph, from a Newspaper.com newspaper article from 1913.  I would love to attach it to my relatives' profiles. Is that allowed?  Would it be considered public domain since the article is over 100 years old?  Does it matter that I found it through newspapers.com?
in Genealogy Help by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (160k points)

3 Answers

+2 votes

This gives an overview for the USA: https://asmp.org/tutorials/photos-1978.html#.V3KNha8cG70

But copyright law is different from country to country so life plus 70 years does not apply everywhere.

 

by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (520k points)
Thanks for the link.  I am still not sure if I can attach the photograph, however.

This link didn't work.

Try this one instead: 

http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm

As far as U.S. copyright goes, for nearly all works, if it was published before 1923, it is in the public domain in the United States. You cannot extrapolate that guideline to other countries.

+2 votes

Terms and conditions Newspapers.com

This may not totally answer your question either. It's a little vague. 1913 would normally be public domain. And it's a very small piece of the whole.

by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
Thanks, Anne. I just sent an email to newspapers.com to ask about the photo.  Their contact was in the link you provided.
And then it gets confusing if we consider "Fair Use".
+3 votes

If it was printed in a newspaper available for public view, it is widely available, and the copyright has not been renewed then you can use it with proper citation. https://www.teachingcopyright.org/handout/public-domain-faq

by N Huckeba G2G2 (3k points)

Thanks, N Huckaba.  So reading the link you provided, anything published before 1923 is in the public domain.  Newspapers.com gave me their blessing but suggested I contact the newspaper directly.  It was the Atlanta Constitution which long ago was absorbed by the Atlanta Journal, now called the Atlanta Journal - Constitution. I found that photos from the newspaper are archived at Georgia State University, so I have emailed them for assistance.  However, the article with the photo was published in 1913, so I assume I am safe in using it.  I'll see what GSU has to say.

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