Portland, OR asked in Copyright, Communications Law and Entertainment / Sports for Oregon

Q: Are we legally allowed to use names/addresses from old letters in new published works?

We purchased a stack of old letters (perhaps 70 years old), and would like to use them as the basis for a book/podcast/video series/photo gallery.

Is there any reason we couldn't use or sell works that contain the names/addresses/content/etc. or photos of the actual items? Are we allowed to sell these works? We didn't get a receipt from the seller, is that an issue?

If not, what changes should we make for this to be ok? Is there any chance distant relatives could cause legal trouble for our final works? If this situation is fine, but a relative were to reach out, what sort of response should we legally give them?

1 Lawyer Answer
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Hillsboro, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: This should not be an issue as to copyright, as addresses would not in this format likely be copyright-able.

Could be an issue as to personality rights though.

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