First, let me say that I am not an attorney. The following is the information I know relating to the copyright laws.
The copyright laws are very complex, but in general:
Prior to 1977, the copyright laws required any visually perceptible item that was copyright protected had to be registered and had to either display the copyright symbol or contain the phrase copyright. If it did not contain the symbol or the phrase it was NOT protected. Between 1977 and 1989, the registration and copyright notice was required but they had up to 5 years to display it. After 1989 the registration and notice was not required, any published item was covered.
Registered copyright works published from 1920 through 1963 are covered for 95 years, if they were renewed in their 28th year. Registered copyright works published from 1963-1977 receive 95 years of protection. After 1977, they receive the life of the artist plus 70 years.
So in conclusion, anything that was created after 1989 has an automatic copyright that will cover it for more than our lifetime and cannot be used or shared without violating copyright laws. Prior to 1977, a registered item may be used under certain conditions, for example, the copyright wasn’t renewed during its 28th year.
Stanford University has a great document explaining the copyright rules. If you are interested in an in-depth explanation I would highly recommend that you read Stanford’s explanation.
So, now for my testimonial:
I collect scrapbooks. I only collect scrapbooks that are at the newest from the early 1960’s. I will not purchase a scrapbook from the 70’s or later. Remember prior to 1977, the item had to be registered and had to display the copyright notice.
The scrapbook must have some type of documentation that actually contains the date within the items contained in the scrapbook. I will NOT take someone’s word for it, the scrapbook itself must document its age.
I will not scan a card or image that contains the copyright symbol or the copyright phrase.
I do not search the internet for images nor do I “borrow” images from other sources.
I take great care on the images that I use and if there is any kind of question as to whether the card may be protected or not, I do not scan it. For example if the back of the card is too damaged to determine if it contains the symbol or the copyright word.
I keep every card that is scanned. I do NOT resell the original card. So therefore, I can always go back to the original item and prove that it does not contain a copyright.
Now to confuse the issue even more, the above covers the copyright and regulations on the original card. It does not relate to the copyrights on the CDs, Digital Collages and cut outs and the images that I publish. My items are unique and creative and therefore have their own copyright protection. They are an artistic collection and majority of them have been restored, modified and digitally enhanced, therefore they have protection.
The PeggyLovesVintage collections are unique. The organization and presentation make it an original creative works and that makes it PeggyLovesVintage’s intellectual property. So, it may not be copied, redistributed, or resold in whole or in part in any form which includes but is not limited to digital form(s) and paper form(s) . This action would be a violation of U.S. and international copyright laws.
Although the original images on the cards belong to the public domain, on my CD’s, Digital Collages and Cut Outs, the majority of the original images have been modified. This makes my image the intellectual property of PeggyLovesVintage. If you have specific questions on a particular image please be sure and ask.
Now, to try and make it clearer, I do not claim copyright to the original card or the original image. It is still out there and available for anyone to use. If you run across a copy of the card and wish to perform your own scan and create your own copy of the image, then you have all the rights to do so. But, if you use any of my image files (.jpg,.psd,.pdf) then you must follow my TOU.
What can PeggyLovesVintage images be used for?
Basically any handmade, handcrafted item, for example:
A card, A banner, A scrapbook page, A quilt, A tee-shirt
A magnet, A pattern, A box, A candle, A tag, A notepad, A charm,
A calendar etc.
Can I sell my handmade/handcrafted item?
Of course as long as it’s not mass produced.
What can’t PeggyLovesVintage images be used for?
Anything that is only the image(s) or a primary piece of the image, for example
A digital or downloadable image(s)
A printed copy of an image(s)
A collage of digital/downloadable/printable images
A cut out of digital/downloadable/printable image(s)
What if I still don’t know if what I want to do is ok?
Just send an email and ask. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your question.