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Jack R.
Jack R., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
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Experience:  former electrical Engineer, Computer Software Developer
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I have a small line of greeting cards and would like to use

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I have a small line of greeting cards and would like to use vintage printers blocks (from 50's-60's) that were utilized for ads most likely in newspapers and magazines. I want to use them on greeting cards mixed with other images/words. Have been buying the blocks on Ebay ("Most were small town newspapers, commercial job printers, in-plant printing departments for every conceivable kind of business, trade shops and even schools that ceased teaching letterpress printing years ago. ")....and there is nothing familiar about the blocks (they don't have words like "Coca Cola" or "Oscar De la Renta") Can I use them commercially to create new designs to sell to stationery stores? A link to see an example on Ebay is: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Letterpress-PRINTERS-Block-Mad-Men-Era-BUSINESS-MAN-in-SUIT-wearing-FEDORA-HAT-/360627275545?ssPageName=ADME:B:WNA:US:1123

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The basic copyright protection for material published before 1978 is 28 years. The duration is extendable if the copyright was renewed. It is likely that any copyright you have for material in the 50, 60's has long expired. See: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap3.html § 304 . Duration of copyright: Subsisting copyrights.

 

Once the copyright is expired you are free to use the material.

 

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This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship.Information provided here is not legal advice. Rather it is simply general information.

 

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