Old maps are protected by copyright

Copyright on old postcard

Dear questioner,

I would like to give you a binding answer to your request based on the information provided as follows:

The publisher will no longer have its own rights to the postcards printed until 1918.

With regard to the children shown, rights could only exist in theory. However, the term of protection of the financial components of the post-mortem right of personality, such as the right to one's own picture & lpar; § 22 sentence 3 KUG & rpar ;, is limited to ten years after the death of the person & lpar; judgment of the Federal Court of Justice of October 5, 2006 Az. I ZR 277/03 - kinski-klaus.de & rpar ;. The children depicted must have died in 2007 or later at an age of over 100 years, which is rather unlikely.

Regarding the copyrights of the photographer or his heirs, things get more complicated. The Photography Protection Act of 1876 only provided a protection period of 5 years for photos. So photos may have been in the public domain around the turn of the century before the KUG came into force in 1907, initially with a 10-year protection period for photos. In 1934 the general term of protection was extended from 30 to 50 years. In 1965 the 70 years after the death of the author were introduced with the new UrhG, but at the same time the distinction between photographs and photographic works was also introduced. In the case of photos & lpar; = simple images of a motif & rpar; The period of protection was then initially 25 years, from 1985 then 70 years after the death of the author for photographs and 50 years from publication for photographs, see § 72 UrhG. According to Section 135a (1) UrhG, this means that photos that were published before 1985 may only benefit from the 70-year protection period if their 25-year protection period had not yet expired in 1985.
If the author of the photos had died after 1960, for example, the 70-year protection period after death might not have expired, at least under national law. According to § 64 UrhG, which is also applicable to older works via § 129 UrhG & lpar; insofar as these were still protected by copyright at the time of the entry into force of the 1965 Act & rpar ;, the copyright only expires 70 years after the death of the author if he is has confessed to the work. Otherwise, in the event of an anonymous publication, the copyright expires 70 years after publication, § 66 UrhG.

In short: If the photo has not been published & lpar; also not elsewhere & rpar; with the name of the photographer, all rights to it are now very likely to have expired and you can use it commercially. However, if the photo was published by the photographer while the photographer was still alive, there could theoretically still be copyrights to it if the photographer died after 1960.

I hope that I have answered your question in an understandable way and thank you for the trust you have placed in us. If you have any questions, you can use the free inquiry function.

With best regards