Tucson, AZ asked in Copyright for Arizona

Q: Can I use other people's photos and slides freely in a movie?

I have an idea for a low budget film where an elderly character is reminiscing about his younger days while looking at some slides or pictures. To save from having to do recreations, I am finding suitable material on eBay. Slides and pics from the 50s-70s mainly. It seems these pics are being sold by resellers and not from the people who shot them, like the might be from estate or garage sales. Would they be in public domain? If they were acquired from the original shooters, like sold in an estate sale, do they give up their ip or copyright?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Erik Špila
Erik Špila
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Senec, Slovakia

A: Hello there,

it seems like there qre many question marks and many questions to be answered first before we can advice you accordingly and precisely.

So to summarize you do not know if these pictures are from who shot them.

According to my jurisdiction if you bought frame with a photo, this is a product which can be freely resold to someone else without the prior constent of the default author of the photo.

However photo itself is not a product, it is a work of an author, so copyright may be still there to consider if the author still lives or if he is not dead for more than 70 years.

But I can surely say if an author of the photo sell his framed photo, like a physical item, he does not give up his copyright on a photo itself.

I hope it helps somehow. If you need more clarification, contact me anytime.

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