[WikiEN-l] Copyright question

Anthony DiPierro wikilegal at inbox.org
Tue May 9 12:03:15 UTC 2006

On 5/6/06, Guettarda <guettarda at gmail.com> wrote:
> If you have unpublished photographs taken by a deceased relative which you
> wish to use on Wikipedia, how would you license them?

I'd put them into the public domain.

The rest of this assumes US law and the law of most US states (you
didn't specify).

> Assuming that you
> have survivor rights or permission from other heirs of the photographer,
> would it be possible to release them under the GFDL or cc by sa?

If you own the copyright (alone or as a joint owner), you can grant
these non-exclusive licenses.  You need the permission of all owners
to grant an exclusive license.  If you profit off the use of the
copyright and there are other owners, you have to split the profits
with the other owners.

> If they
> were taken by, say, your grandfather, and there is nothing in his will
> dealing with "other stuff", would you have to get permission from all of his
> surviving children, or their heirs (if the children are deceased)?  I'm
> assuming here that the photographs are otherwise unpublished, and were taken
> recently enough/the person was alive recently enough that they would still
> be covered by copyright.
That's the interesting question.  I agree with the others that the
ownership would pass by will or by intestate succession.  Since you're
saying the will doesn't deal with this, it would pass by intestate

This last part I have no idea about.  Presumably during the probate
process one or more people would be assigned the copyright on those
photos (either directly or through some sort of order for "other
stuff").  But I have no idea how that works.


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