[APG Public List] RE: Copyright question

Jacqueline Wilson jawgen at comcast.net
Wed Nov 25 15:07:52 MST 2009


Chad you just said is much better than I did, wish I had read this  
before I opened my ?  What did I just open - it was not my mouth?  LOL

We need new descriptions for this kind of thing!  lololol
On Nov 25, 2009, at 10:32 AM, Chad Milliner wrote:

My understanding of copyright law is that copyright needs creativity  
to exist.  The E-bay seller of the postcard did not, in the eyes of  
court precedents, use creativity in posting the image of the postcard  
because his or her intention was to show as accurately as possible  
what the post card looked like.  So I believe that neither E-bay nor  
the seller has any copyright interest in the postcard.  But E-bay  
might have contractural license terms limiting what can be done by  
third parties with images posted to their site.  So I would read E- 
bay's terms and conditions.  As a practical matter, if you just used  
the image for your personal research, I very much doubt that E-bay  
would care.

If anyone still has a copyright interest in the text written on the  
back of the postcard, it would be the person who wrote that text.  If  
that person died before 1939, then that text is now in the public  
domain.  If the person who wrote it died after 1939, then that person  
(or his or her estate, if deceased) still holds copyright to it.  (In  
the case of unpublished manuscripts such as letters, copyright exists  
for the life of the author plus 70 years.)  As a practical matter,  
unless the person who wrote the text was a famous person, it is very  
unlikely that anyone will care if you keep an image of the text on  
your computer for your personal use.  In any event, it would be the  
person who posted the image to E-bay who is the copyright infringer.   
In the 1 in a billion chance that you ended up in legal proceedings,  
you could claim that you presumed that the E-bay seller had obtained  
all necessary permissions.  You could also claim that your use of the  
image was Fair Use.

Of course, since I am not a lawyer, what I have just written is not  
legal advice.  And it is worth exactly what you paid for it.


Jacqueline Wilson
jawgen at comcast.net

"Wilssearch - your service of choice for the indexing challenged  
genealogist."

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