In creating the archive of images, the History Group has endeavoured to understand issues of copyright and determine the specific rights associated with each image.
Publication on this site of any image is done in good faith, on the basis that permission is given for the publication by the rights holder or that the image is out of copyright.
The History Group respects the rights of copyright holders and if we inadvertently publish an image that is subject to copyright protection we would, of course, remove the image from the web site.
The images made available to the Group appear to fall into three broad categories:
1. The simplest questions of copyright concern those photographs taken by living members of the community. They have copyright and can sign rights over to a third party.
2. There are family photographs that residents of Craster have inherited.
3. There are those photographs that no one knew who took, prints of which are often held by several members of the community and are very old. Some of these photographs pre-date the harbour in Craster being built in 1906, some are of a later date.
The forum of the Copyright Aid website has a relevant discussion
A useful chart is made available on the Museums Copyright Group website.
This says that for photographs taken before June 1st 1957 by:
an unknown photographer, Copyright expires 70 years after creation or
70 years after the work was made available to the public if within 70 years of creation.
for a known photographer, Copyright
the death of
The Jenkins 'intellectual property rights' practice web site publishes the 'Copyright Designs and Patents Act' 1988.
(3) If the work is of unknown authorship, copyright expires-
(a) at the end of the period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made, or
(b) if during that period the work is made available to the public, at the end of the period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which it is first so made available,
The UK Copyright Service publishes a pack of free fact sheets. These sheets include the following statements:
Can copyright be inherited?
Yes. The person who inherits the work will become the new owner.
What happens when a copyright expires? The work will fall into the public domain, making it available to anyone wishing to use, copy or reproduce the work. This is how so many companies can publish works by William Shakespeare, classical composers etc.
When the term of copyright protection has expired, the work falls into the public domain. This means that the work, has effectively become public property and may be used freely.
Under the terms of copyright law only the copyright owner of a work (or his exclusive licensee) can bring legal action against the infringer.
The Intellectual Property Office makes the following statements on its page about how copyright might be inherited or transferred:
If the creator or owner of the rights in a work has died less than seventy years ago, the rights in a work will have transferred to someone else, perhaps through testamentary deposition (a will) indicating to whom rights in the material has been given, or by inheritance. If there was no will, or if the creator of the work has not specified where the rights in the material should go, then the normal rules of inheritance will apply. (These rules are not specific to copyright, and advice should be sought from a legal adviser.)
When a company goes out of business or ceases trading, any copyright it may own continues for the customary copyright duration. The rights will be part of the assets of the company, and may be sold or otherwise dealt with by the company or its liquidator, etc.
Artquest have an interesting discussion about the right to copy the work, and issue copies to the public in the context of 2003 legislation pertaining to copyright.
Website that have proved useful:
Intellectual Property Office
Museums Copyright Group
Jenkins 'intellectual property rights' practice
UK Copyright Service