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Forums: Index > Help desk > Licensing of old family photos?


I have old family photos which were not taken by me and have never been published, and I have been reading through help here and on Central Wikia to determine if I can legitimately upload them and if so under what license. So far I have not found a definitive answer to these questions. If the subject has been discussed here or elsewhere on Familypedia, please point me to that discussion. Otherwise please give me any advice you can. DennisDoty 12:29, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

I have a feeling I have seen it discussed more recently than on Forum:Proposal- no upload without license declared, but I may be mistaken. It could have been on someone's talk page. There is a little help, possibly, on http://genealogy.wikia.com/wiki/User_talk:Dbrowng1#Tagging_Absalom_Brown_picture. Much depends on the dates the photos were taken. If it's over 100 years there's no likely problem; maybe even 70. There may be other help from other members here. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 14:52, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
If you look at Wookiepedia/ Anime wikia you will see that their content is almost entirely copyrighted material. The reason why they can do this is the US concept of "Fair Use". Family photos used to illustrate an article on the person in the photos are probably fair use with some minor exceptions. I am not a lawyer, and what I say may be incorrect, so verify it for yourself in case you have any concerns. I think that so long as we aren't talking about photos of private individuals who are living, and we aren't uploading high value commercial images at very high resolution, I don't think anyone should worry about this. I repeat the guidance from the anime free use template. We can use an image even if it is copyrighted so long as the image is used:
  1. To illustrate the object in question.
  2. Where no free equivalent is available or could be created that would adequately give the same information.
A high resolution copy of a commercially created image is probably not fair use, since it could conceivably deprive the owner of the copyright of income from the image. I can't imagine any family photos that would fall into that category. As for what is protected by copyright? A general rule of thumb for countries in the developed world is that works are protected for 70 years after the date of death of the photographer. -~ Phlox 02:19, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
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