Author Topic: Question of copyright on very old paintings  (Read 140 times)

Online Warlord

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 9222
  • Sydney, Australia
    • View Profile
Question of copyright on very old paintings
« on: September 14, 2018, 12:16:52 PM »
Now Fidelis has his cool thread about about the History of the Empire using old paintings, and I was wondering if there are any limitations to such things?

If I started a website, and used a bunch of images of very old paintings (thinking medieval era) would there be any issues?

Don't worry Fidelis, I am not going to do what you are doing, but I have some ideas for some other things...

I did a bit of a search, and some sources suggest that if the artists is dead for 70 years, no issues.
Some other sources say you may need to worry about the person who took the photo, but that it can also be difficult to determine the source.


What about video game art?
Obviously this I would credit, but would there be issues with displaying this? Obviously no money involved in this one.
Two separate questions of course.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 12:22:25 PM by Warlord »
Quote from: Gneisenau
I hate people who don't paint their armies, hate them with all my guts. Beats me how they value other things over painting, like eating or brushing teeth.

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8714
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Question of copyright on very old paintings
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2018, 03:44:44 PM »
The artwork as such is in the public domain, if the artist is 70 years dead. However, images of that artwork may still be covered by copyright laws. In the Bridgeman vs Corel court case in 1999, it was ruled that a photograph of a painting is not sufficiently "original" to warrant its own copyright. Obviously, that ruling applies only to the US, and, as far as I know, has not been challenged in a higher court.
I would advise to check the websites themselves, if they have limitations on the use of the pictures they provide.
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)