ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > ROOTS > 2002-10 > 1033930171
From: Steven Dhuey <>
Subject: [ROOTS-L] Copyright of newspaper obituaries
Date: Sun, 6 Oct 2002 13:49:31 -0500
First question, when and where were the newspaper obituaries
published? If they were first published in the U.S. before 1923, they
are out of copyright and in the public domain.
If they were first published in the U.S. before 1964, they are very
probably out of copyright and in the public domain. For works
published before 1964, copyright holders were required to renew the
copyright for a second term after the first 28-year term expired.
Periodicals, especially newspapers, were almost never registered for
a second-term copyright renewal.
If the obituaries were first published in the U.S. from 1964 to the
present, they are still under copyright, for 95 years from date of
publication. (Loophole: for newspapers published before 1989, if the
publisher failed to place a proper copyright notice somewhere on the
newspaper itself, it is in the public domain.)
Third question, were these editorial obituaries (i.e., written by the
newspaper as news items), or were they paid obituaries? If the
latter, the copyright belongs, or did belong, to the party who placed
the obituary, not the newspaper.
>OK. I would like all comments on whether I could be infringing
>copyrights if I send out scans of newspaper obits. This relates to the
>obit spreadsheet I put online yesterday. Thanks. Kathy