Going paperless | Main | Two cokes

Monday, March 14, 2005

Orphan Works

Via Downhill Battle:

The Copyright Office is thinking of changing the rules to make it easier to reuse copyrighted works (photos, music, film footage, text, whatever) when the copyright holder is impossible to find. We're not talking about sweeping reform here, but it could make copyright suck less for a lot of people.

While much of my family snapshot collection is over 100 years old, a lot more is less than that. Most of the photographers are long since deceased. I have used a few in and around this web site and even bestowed one 8 by 10 glossy upon the local historical society. So far it hasn't been a problem. As an heir and descendant, I figured I could always make a case for ownership of the copyright as it would have passed to me. However, it might be better if the copyright laws were changed to be more definitive in what to do in these types and similar cases.

Send comments to the U.S. Copyright Office at OrphanWorks.org

UPDATE: Document entitled, "Copyright Basics," from the U.S. Copyright Office. Note that no distinction is made between professional and amateur works.

Posted by Marie at March 14, 2005 3:48 PM


It is my understanding that a professional picture may be reproduced without authorization once it's 50 years old. Documentation must be presented to show picture is over the limit.

Posted by: Carol at March 14, 2005 7:22 PM

really?? maybe because the old pictures have no copyright or restriction?? www.blogsocool.com

Posted by: Tracy at March 14, 2005 9:36 PM