Saturday, 25 April 2009

Copyright law for photos

The problem with writing about famous photographers is the copyright on their work. It is much easier to ask you to search their work than it is to check copyright. It is a complicated business and depends on the law at the time the photo was taken.

For photos prior to 1945 there is copyright for 50 years. However in German the law is that the photo is protected for 70 years after the death of the photographer. Can I be sure that a World War II photo was not protected by German law? Who was the photographer, and when did they die? Did the photographer use German law? It is much easier to avoid publishing the photographs of others.Nowadays the common rule for copyright is that it lasts 70 years plus the life of the photographer. If the photographer is unknown it is still 70 years from when it was taken.

I am all for freedom of information and freedom to publish photographs, but there is another side to the coin. We are talking about the work of photographers and why should others just take their work and do what they want e.g. publish it on a blog? For the moment I'll let you check on the photos of others by searching the internet. Do this anyway for inspiration.

Happy snapping

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