copyright risk management orphan photographs

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      Charlene Martin

      Hi everyone, I am looking for some advice about a framework I put together to help determine the copyright risk associated with potential publishing of orphan photographs in my Archive (date and provenance of most of the photographs can only be assumed). By the way, I am providing my researchers with the usual copyright disclaimer, that the Archive cannot claim ownership of copyright, and that the researcher must pursue that matter independently should they wish to publish. Thank you for considering!

      My formula:

      Besides obvious studio photographs, it can be assumed that photographs may not have had copyright deeded to successors or other institutions.

      The dates of photographs can be roughly determined by primary documents in the archives, i.e., 1920, and clues within the photograph.

      Assume that the youngest age of photographer that had access to a camera in 1920’s is 15yrs old.

      1920 + 15yrs old + 75 years lifespan = public domain in 2010.

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