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Old photos and copyright laws


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Can anyone give me insight on old photos and copyright laws? For instance a wedding photo of my folks taken in 1947, or a family photo taken by a photographer in 1966. Can I make copies for my siblings? Are these protected forever so I can not download them to a color lab for prints?

I've scanned hundreds of photos and slides the family has taken, and a few photos taken by professional photographers. I'm editing some for a Powerpoint presentation for my dad's memorial service.

PS I am a hobby, amateur photographer.

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This is a pretty good explanation of the state of US copyright law and old photographs: http://www.legalgenealogist.com/2012/03/06/copyright-and-the-old-family-photo/

The relevant point: for any unpublished photograph (and simply taking a photo and selling it to an individual doesn't count as publication under US copyright law) created after 1923 and before January 1, 1978, the copyright lasts for the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years.

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