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Gerald-Esquire, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 4070
Experience:  30 years of experience.
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I have written a book about my parents and have newspaper

Customer Question

I have written a book about my parents and have newspaper articles and photographs that I want to use and have contacted the agency that supposedly grants licensing for a fee. I was willing to pay for use of them but now they're telling me they can't identify the photographers and therefore can't license them. Does that mean I can use them anyway? They're from 30-60 years ago.
JA: What written documentation do you have?
Customer: i have old newspaper clippings from which I transcribed the information but they don't always have the name of the paper or the exact date. I sent them what I have.
JA: Have you talked to a local attorney? Has anything been filed in court?
Customer: No, I'm just reaching out to someone now for the first time. I was trying to deal with this by myself.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Here's the last email I got from them. I sent the photos (with the information) to the publisher’s office. They do not have the proper records to determine ownership of the provided photos. I cannot license them without their approval and unfortunately do not have any information to provide.
If you have additional questions, please reach out to them directly. This is the only information they provided to me. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Best Regards,
Victoria Vazquez
Content Permission Specialist
PARS International
253 W 35 Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10001
P:(###) ###-####ext. 130
JA: OK. To minimize me, please click the down arrow at the top right corner of this box.
Customer: and then what?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Gerald-Esquire replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. Please bear with me while I review your question. I will respond fully shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Expert:  Gerald-Esquire replied 10 months ago.


Thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you have.

I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.

I can not answer with absolute certainty because the law balances a number of factors in these situations. BUT - It is nearly certain that you can use the news articles because factual events are not subject to copyright protection. Also to the degree you are using them for commentary and discussion your use may very well be a Fair Use under the copyright law.

Furthermore, newspapers notoriously did not register or renew their copyrights for the daily papers. It was not economically feasible to do so. Therefore anything thay predates 1963 is almost certainly in the public domain. If the material was published between 1977 and 1989 without a copyright Notice and without registration such material is also in the public domain.

Otherwise the material published after after 1963 is still under copyright. You may be able to use it anywy if you can assert a Fair Use. The problem with the Fair Use argument is that we can't be certain that it will be successful.

Fair Use is a balance between the copyright hoders rights and the user's Amendment Rights.

These articles will help you with these questions:

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