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John Walker

Copyright on Images from 1950s ads

Question

I have good quality  images taken of adverts pages taken from a 1950s Show Magazine.  I was thinking of entering them in Archive. 

Obviously, I would enter no releases and editorial only etc.

 

Any thoughts on this?

 

John

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I have some of adverts in Country Life 1951. Some have sold. 

 

I had one of an old Marlborough cigarette advert but that was removed after a request from Philip Morris Ltd

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8 hours ago, geogphotos said:

I have some of adverts in Country Life 1951. Some have sold. 

 

I had one of an old Marlborough cigarette advert but that was removed after a request from Philip Morris Ltd

 

Many thanks 👍

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My understanding, having put some 1950's theatre programmes on here, and then taken them off after reading this issue up, is that 1950's artwork is in copyright until 70 years after the death of the artist. I assume all adverts are artwork. Photographs are a different matter. One view on the website copyrightaid is "copyright in photographs taken before 1 June 1957, when the 1956 Copyright Act came into effect, are governed by section 21 of the Copyright Act 1911. This applied a standard 50 year term to all photographs, irrespective of whether they had or had not been published." 

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1 minute ago, zxzoomy said:

My understanding, having put some 1950's theatre programmes on here, and then taken them off after reading this issue up, is that 1950's artwork is in copyright until 70 years after the death of the artist. I assume all adverts are artwork. Photographs are a different matter. One view on the website copyrightaid is "copyright in photographs taken before 1 June 1957, when the 1956 Copyright Act came into effect, are governed by section 21 of the Copyright Act 1911. This applied a standard 50 year term to all photographs, irrespective of whether they had or had not been published." 

 

You may be correct. All I know is that I looked at the images available at a famous agency ( initials M.E. ) that specialises only in historical images and they have some very similar to mine from the 1950s and 1960s. 

 

As I understand it it would be unusual for any copyright to belong to the magazine. More likely it would belong to the company that commissioned the work from ad agency?

 

I can see why Philip Morris might want to have my Marlborough man removed because they are touchy about how it might be used against them. But for most of these old adverts I can't think that the companies/brands would care too much. They probably like it that somebody has gone to the effort and they are getting some free PR.

 

There's lots of this sort of thing on Alamy - book covers, LP covers, old adverts, etc

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Posted (edited)

 

11 minutes ago, zxzoomy said:

 "copyright in photographs taken before 1 June 1957, when the 1956 Copyright Act came into effect, are governed by section 21 of the Copyright Act 1911. This applied a standard 50 year term to all photographs, irrespective of whether they had or had not been published." 

That would still be 50 years after the death of the photographer, not after publication, of course. Any artwork would have the same protection. So I wouldn't consider it safe- and of course you can't comply with the contract term that requires you to own the rights unless you're sure the artist died before the 2000s.

I assume that Philip Morris can also rely on trademarks.

3 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

You may be correct. All I know is that I looked at the images available at a famous agency ( initials M.E. ) that specialises only in historical images and they have some very similar to mine from the 1950s and 1960s. 

 

As I understand it it would be unusual for any copyright to belong to the magazine. More likely it would belong to the company that commissioned the work from ad agency?

 

 

The copyright term would still be based on the lifetime of the artist, if you wanedt to rely on it having expired.

Edited by spacecadet

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

 

That would still be 50 years after the death of the photographer, not after publication, of course. Any artwork would have the same protection. So I wouldn't consider it safe- and of course you can't comply with the contract term that requires you to own the rights unless you're sure the artist died before the 2000s.

I assume that Philip Morris can also rely on trademarks.

Of course the copyright would belong to the agency but the term would still be based on the lifetime of the artist, if you want to rely on it having expired.

 

 

All I know is that there is a lot of this sort of content on Alamy. 

 

Try searching for  'LP cover' '1950s advert' and similar. 

Edited by geogphotos
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, spacecadet said:

 

That would still be 50 years after the death of the photographer, not after publication, of course. Any artwork would have the same protection. So I wouldn't consider it safe- and of course you can't comply with the contract term that requires you to own the rights unless you're sure the artist died before the 2000s.

I assume that Philip Morris can also rely on trademarks.

The copyright term would still be based on the lifetime of the artist, if you wanedt to rely on it having expired.

The 1911 Act only gave 50 years from the photos being taken.  Basically pre 1945 photos in the uk are out of copyright, unless they have been 'revived' as described below. Pre 1945 photos and artwork have very different copyright protection. From dacs.org:

"Photographs made before 1st June 1957

These photographs were originally protected for a period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which they were taken (regardless of whether they were published or not).

If the photograph was still in copyright as of 1 July 1995 however, the period of copyright was extended to the life of the photographer plus 70 years. If copyright protection had expired before 1 July 1995, there was still the chance to "revive" the photograph. An eligible photograph would then  be protected by the new term, ie the photographer's life plus 70 years."

Edited by zxzoomy
correction

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Then John can only be sure of being in the clear for material created before 1957.

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2 hours ago, spacecadet said:

Then John can only be sure of being in the clear for material created before 1957.

 

That would be fine as this is a one-off 1954 motorcycle show guide.  Most of the manufacturers have been out of business for a long now.

 

Thanks everyone for your contibutions.  I think I'll go ahead with them as No Release and Editorial only.  

 

John

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