Lots of European countries have similar laws. In those countries, news
photographs are almost always understood to be "non-artistic" (and thus
to have the shorter copyright duration).
On 7/29/13 6:14 AM, David Gerard wrote:
Question regarding shorter copyright terms for some
items in one
country. Replies should probably go to wikimedia-l as well.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Hrafn Malmquist <hrafn.malmquist(a)gmail.com>
Date: 29 July 2013 13:54
Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Iceland: Country specific copyright issue
regarding artistic photographs
49th Article of the Icelandic Copyright Act states (
*The reproduction of photographs, which do not enjoy the protection of this
Act for works of art as provided for in *
*the second paragraph of Article 1, is prohibited without the consent of
the photographer or the party who has *
*acquired his rights. [Furthermore, the publication of such photographs
without the permission of the rightholder *
*shall be prohibited.]1) If such a photograph is presented to the public on
a commercial basis or for profit the *
*photographer, or the subsequent holder of his rights, shall be entitled to
remuneration. The protection of a *
*photograph in accordance with this paragraph shall apply until [50
years]2) have elapsed from the end of the year *
*in which it was taken.*
*The provisions of Chapter II of this Act shall also apply as appropriate
to the photographs referred to in the first *
The second paragraph of the first article referenced provided copyright for
artistic work. It is therefore my understanding that the 49th article is
intended to cover non-artistic photographs.
That begs the question as to how Icelandic courts define artistic
photographs. In a ruling from November 27. 2008 Reykjavík District Court
found that photographs taken at a public place using a mobile of the movie
director Quentin Tarantino were not artistic. (
*It is therefore my contention that non-artistic photographs taken before
January 1. 1963 are in the public domain.*
I have sought the advice of a lawyer specialising in copyright and he
agrees with this estimate.
I want to put this to the test by taking photographs taken by Ólafur K.
Magnússon (1926-1997) a photographer for the newspaper Morgunblaðið taken
at riots on March 30th 1949 when the Icelandic parliament voted for Iceland
to be a founding member of NATO. See:
It is obviously a central issue whether a photograph is artistic or not.
Should the photos be considered artistic the copyright does not expire
I have sent a query to Morgunblaðið, which still holds the photographs, and
the man who takes care of the photographic archive did not agree that the
photos are non-artistic (I suspect this is his personal opinion).
There is little history of contending the 49. article, I believe the
example cited above is the only one (When I contacted the curator of the
Reykjavík Photographic Museum she had not heard of the 49th article).
So, do I upload to Commons? the Icelandic Wikipedia with a caveat ("This
photo is reproduced under the assumption that the 49th article of the
Copyright Act of 1972 applies")? Both?
Best, Hrafn Malmquist
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