I want to use a famous "old masters" painting image -- 300+ years old -- in a brochure and possibly a print advertising campaign. Do I need to be concerned about purchasing reproduction rights? Thank you.
Low-level web search.
No probably not. The copyright laws of each country are slightly different, so it depends somewhat on where you want to publish these images. But generally each countries' copyright laws provide that the copyright exists for the life of the author of the work plus some number of years. In addition, some countries provide that any material published before a certain date is in the public domain. In the U.S. all works published before 1923 have passed into the public domain. So, it would be no problem for you to publish your images in the U.S. For a complete description of U.S. copyright expiration see This Chart. For a description of the laws in other countries check this Wikipedia Site. I have not done a complete analysis of all countries laws, but 300 + years old is pretty old. And I am reasonably confident in saying that no country would still have copyright protection on images so old.
Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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