I am so confused by copyrights. How do we know if a portrait is in the public doman so we can use it?

+8 votes
in WikiTree Help by Laurie Hughes G2G6 Mach 1 (17.6k points)
retagged by Dorothy Barry

3 Answers

+15 votes
Best answer

I assume from your link that you are interested in the Barnabas Bidwell portrait at the top left of the article.  Under the photo is a caption that says, "Source:  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons".  If you click on that link it will take you to a page describing the photo and its status.  In this case, the photo is considered to be in the public domain and free to re-use.  If you click the Download icon at the top, it will give you the suggested Attribution.

See this link to Wikimedia Commons:Simple media reuse guide for an easier to understand discussion of Wikimedia Commons images.  Specifically note "All media files on Wikimedia Commons can be used by anyone, including commercially and each media file has information about which license it uses. The most common licenses used are created by Creative Commons which require the author to be credited."

So yes, you can use this image on Wikitree and give the source appropriate attribution per the Honor Code.


by Kerry Larson G2G6 Pilot (240k points)
selected by Pip Sheppard
+7 votes
Everywhere I look on that page has the copyright logo.  I would be hesitant to use any photographs from that page.  Great question, though.
by Cheryl Hess G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
The site gives permission to use as long as you follow the instructions. You can use copyright material if you have written permission (read the site rules that Kerry Larson pointed at) and you follow the license requirements for that particular photograph.
+7 votes

Just as an aside, one of the best sources for Public Domain images of Canadians or those associated with Canada is Library and Archives Canada. That particular image isn't on their site, but one of Dolly Bidwell is, so if you come across a Dolly in your research, you know where to look!

by Laurie Cruthers G2G6 Pilot (173k points)

For copyrights in the USA there is a PDF download. It is a bit lengthy, but at least a valid source of information. Note that each country has it's own copyright laws and this is only specific to the USA. U.S. Copyright Law, June 2020. The file is an 18 mb. download.

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