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A Clarification about Copyrights and Pictures

 
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:22 PM
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,551
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RE: 'Copyright suits & realized profits.'
Hi, Alan & Steamboating colleagues:
Alan has nailed it right in his posting on this thread. Copyright extends back to our U.S. Constitution of 1787 in Article I Sec. 8 as a means not only to protect the creative process of writers but to encourage intellectual and artistic endeavors. In recent years there are interests/individuals that contort the law as a weapon or device to intimidate and frighten. Lawsuits are a dime a dozen. Some individuals, companies, institutions have filed so many lawsuits [Many unnecessasry] they've been 'red flagged.' *ALL works/photos published etc. before 1923 are now in the 'Public Domain.' This also includes newspaper articles as they rank as 'factual' data and such laws don't regulate the ownership of basic facts.

Many works published between 1923-1963 are also in the 'Public Domain' if the Copyright owner failed to register, renew, lost or didn't accomplish the proper registration forms with fees. Failure to document a transfer of a work in words, art, photos etc. properly to an heir, corporation or designated controller also makes it difficult for a suit to be filed and prosecuted. That which is not so marked with (C), or such regulations, would fall under 'Innocent Infringement.' This differs from deliberate infringement or illegal use in a knowing way. Purchase, gift or otherwise obtaining a work marked with (C) Copyright does not always convey freedom or use of that material unless legally updated and formally signed over. It's sticky, for sure, but the claimant would have to prove financial damages, loss or other issue of inconvenience. It's good to know where you stand with material objects, art, writings, photos but I wouldn't be overly concerned with a beat-up 100 year old steamboat photo unmarked or otherwise failing to display a disclaimer. Copyright basically from the beginning dealt with words; their arrangement and style in relating a message or story. Copyright is often still in a dusty file in Washington, D.C. long after the creator is long gone and their work totally forgotten with it not being renewed.

Trademarks, logos, slogans, titles etc. fall outside of Copyright law under the umbrella of trademark law state and federal. A number of former trademarks, logos used by then GREENE LINE, DELTA QUEEN CO., Majestic America Line etc. may be seen to carry a sign of (C) or similar. Examples: 'Steamboatin,' 'Getting there is half the fun,' 'FORD has a better idea,' 'I'd walk a mile for a CAMEL,' etc. along with P&G's round logo bearing the moon and stars.
Well, what do I know?

Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River,
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