Kill Devil Hills, NC asked in Copyright for North Carolina

Q: I have some old posters advertising old bands who played at a local club here where I live. They are from the 1960s.

They are just old ad posters that were stapled to telephone poles and buildings every week promoting the show and then torn down and replaced. The old ones were thrown in the trash. The company that printed them has been out of business for over 40 years. Do I need permission to make some copies of these?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Will Blackton
Will Blackton
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: If you want to avoid any legal liability for copyright infringement, yes - you need permission to reproduce those posters. The printing company is probably not the party that needs to grant permission, unless they also created the posters. The artist who created the posters, assuming the artist is still the copyright owner, is the person or entity from which you need permission.

Additionally, if the bands or venues are still around or are monitoring for infringement of their intellectual property, you could be opening yourself up to other legal claims, depending on how you use the reproductions of the posters.

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