How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Thomas Swartz Your Own Question

Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 2808
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
8370490
Type Your Intellectual Property Law Question Here...
Thomas Swartz is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have several images of obscure photos, pitch cards, etc.

Resolved Question:

I have several images of obscure photos, pitch cards, etc. that date as far back as mid-19th to early 20th century (circa 1850-1950). In the last two years, I've had some of these said images professionally restored and printed onto T-shirts. I pondered the possibility of selling these shirts commercially and I was wondering: What are the legal requirements to do this w/o having to worry about the ramifications of copyright infringement??
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 1 year ago.
Hello JACUSTOMER,

With any photograph published before 1923, you are completely safe as those works are now in the public domain and you can freely copy them and use them for commercial purposes. With respect to photos published after 1923, the copyright duration rules become a little more complicated. Rather than giving you the complete rules, let me refer you to this excellent Copyright Duration Chart and Copyright Term Calculator.

Obviously for photos that are still in copyright you would need permission from the copyright owner in the form of a license to make copies and put them on objects like T-shirts. For photos still in copyright, unless the photo or image has a copyright notice on it, you are likely going to have difficulty tracking down the copyright owner of such photos. It is just going to take a lot of detective work trying to track down the photographer, publisher, etc.

Thomas
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

As I was saying, many of these photos were definitely before 1923; however, I had some of them restored professionally w/in the last couple of years. Would they be considered new?

Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 1 year ago.
No. Restoring the image does not renew the copyright in the underlying photo or image.

Thomas
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

And how exactly do we define 'published' in this context? Is this referring to when the photo was created, printed in a book, etc.?

Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 1 year ago.
The copyright code defines "publish" or actually "publication" as follows:

Publication” is the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display, constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication (17 U.S. Code § 101, scroll down a bit).

So, it is basically the distribution of the work to the public by sale etc.

Thomas
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 2808
Experience: Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
Thomas Swartz and 3 other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Alex Reese

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2588
    Experienced in intellectual property law
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/sosolid007/2010-08-05_070536_Suitpic.jpg Alex Reese's Avatar

    Alex Reese

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2588
    Experienced in intellectual property law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/scottymacesq/2009-6-10_221523_small.jpg Robert McEwen, Esq.'s Avatar

    Robert McEwen, Esq.

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    387
    Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/tswartz123/2010-02-08_225658_Tommy.jpg Thomas Swartz's Avatar

    Thomas Swartz

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    374
    Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    371
    I assist my clients with IP questions that arise in their daily course of doing business.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/personwilt/2010-1-10_164828_person1.jpg Wilton A. Person's Avatar

    Wilton A. Person

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    339
    MBA, Experienced and Knowledgeable in Intellectual Property Law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/bart0358/2012-1-23_232424_1056.64x64.JPG BartEsq's Avatar

    BartEsq

    Researcher

    Satisfied Customers:

    192
    Juris Doctor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IP/ipesq/2012-1-9_164431_RetouchPortraitHighResCopy.64x64.jpg ipesq's Avatar

    ipesq

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    134
    Specializing in patent prosecution, trademark and copyright registration/enforcement.
 
 
 

Related Intellectual Property Law Questions