Print Poster Art From Historic Photos Under Public Domain
Poster prints made from historic photography can be an amazing form of personal expression. However, is it legal to reproduce the work of the photographer? For residents of the United States, we enjoy a freedom in copyright law known as public domain. Public domain isn’t exactly easy to understand, but for the purpose of this article we do not need to understand it in great depth. The concept of public domain states that copyrights must be renewed after a certain period of time or the copyright protection lapses allowing it to enter public domain. This means that we can’t legally print poster art of all historic photos, but only those whose copyright protection has lapsed and have entered public domain.
When you are printing a poster with a historic photo, be sure to check on the status of the photographers copyright on that image. Copyrights for older artwork may not have been renewed and the artwork might have entered public domain. To be sure, do the proper research before reproducing a famous photo or painting.
If you are concerned about the legality of using historic photos to print poster designs, you can choose to use public resources like the library of congress. American memory is a collection of photos, videos and advertisement in the library of congress that pertains to U.S. history and has fallen under public domain. Many of these photos can be freely used in your poster print without having to worry about copyright restrictions. Such photos will display a small caption allowing the use of the artwork.
There are two ways to recreate artwork that is under copyright protection. A common example of copyrighted art being reproduced in a legal fashion is the Mona Lisa. Mona Lisa poster prints are sold in many retail poster vendors. This is accomplished by paying the Louvre Museum in Paris a small fee for reproduction. However, a more common method is to print a reproduction of a reproduction of a famous work of art. This may seem confusing, but we can better understand this concept through an example. If I were to visit the Louvre Museum in Paris with a high-end professional digital camera and take a picture of the Mona Lisa, that photography work is mine. I could then turn and copyright my work or let it enter public domain. If it enters public domain, another person could use that digital photo file to print a Mona Lisa poster print for personal use. However, this becomes complicated with famous paintings and we recommend that you only reproduce artwork that is officially under public domain.
Print poster designs using historic photography to use as decorations or give as gifts. These unique poster prints will add character to any home or business and can be created at an affordable cost. A vintage frame and a black and white historic photo will look elegant, while an old advertisement in a plain black frame will look fun and artistic. Start searching for photos under public domain that you can use for your next poster print project.
This article aims to provide readers important information regarding poster print and how to print poster art from historic photos under public domain.
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Jay Jenson is a freelance writer, with 5 years of experience in the printing and graphic design industry. Currently, he resides in Los Angeles, California, working in the field of marketing and public relations.
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