I own a set of old encyclopedias that says, "The Encyclopedia Britannica, printed in 1892". The books have some nice drawings in them. Could I have these pictures printed and sell them? Also, I was thinking of buying more old books from before 1923 and doing the same thing, as a business idea.
How can I verify each picture I find in a book, whether or not I can reprint them for a profit or not?
Lake Forest, California
Calling other attorney offices- get voicemails.
Works published in the US prior to 1923 should not be under copyright anymore, so there would be no restriction on publishing those works again. After 1923, things would get increasingly more complicated, and you'd have to do careful homework to figure out what is and is not plausibly under copyright protection.
(How did you know to choose 1923 as your cut-off date?)
Hope that helps.
Thank you! I read that before 1923, it is okay, but wanted someone who really knows the law to tell me that as well, just to be on the safe side. You said, "should not be under copyright anymore". You used the word "should". Is there any circumstance where I could get into trouble for re-printing and selling it??
Otherwise, I am happy with the answer and glad to pay for it.
<p>There shouldn't be any exceptions -- prior to 1923, you'd be clear.</p>
Professor of Law at Top-Tier Law School, specializing in patent & copyright
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).