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About that legal limit…

… a copyright follow-up … The Legal Genealogist has been patiently waiting for the question to be posed. It was only a matter of time, though I will confess that it’s taken a lot longer than I thought it would. But yesterday was the day. After...

The risks of orphan status

… of a copyright, that is … Copyright in the United States doesn’t last forever. It just seems to. And it doesn’t help that the expiration is, by the way the law is written, often not a simple matter. The only really clear drop-dead date under...

Welcome to 1926!

The copyright clock keeps ticking For many Americans, this is the first Monday and work day of 2022. For The Legal Genealogist, it’s the third day of 1926. No, that’s not a typo. I really do mean 1926. The year that books like Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun...

Inheriting the copyright

Who gets it…? The Legal Genealogist trusts that — by now — readers understand that copyright lasts for some time after the death of the person who created the work: the book; the photo; the painting. Around the world, the minimum time generally is 50...

Credit doesn’t cut it

Copyright requires more It’s a constant refrain in the world of using other people’s content: “But I gave the author / photographer / artist credit!” The Legal Genealogist is here to remind us all: that ain’t enough if we’re using materials...

Contract, not copyright

Different laws, different rules If there’s any question that has readers more confused than the “why can’t I use this item from that website” question, The Legal Genealogist doesn’t know what it might be. It’s a question that comes in here...

Factually speaking…

Not copyrightable It’s the kind of information a genealogist may spend hours or days or even weeks ferreting out. Hunting through courthouses and archival back rooms for county records that don’t exist that far back in time. Trudging through court records...

Welcome to 1925!

The copyright clock keeps ticking For many Americans, this is the first Saturday and second day of 2021. For The Legal Genealogist, it’s the second day of 1925. No, that’s not a typo. I really do mean 1925. The year that books like Theodore Dreiser’s An...

Copyrighting that photo

Not just a matter of owning the thing A reader has a great copyright question: “How about a very old photo, from about 1908, that was never published as far as I know, and does not include any info about who the photographer was or who the subjects (several men) were....