Do You Have A Copyright Question?

copyright for librarians

Do you have a copyright question? can assist:

1. Click here.
2. Choose one of the fifteen headings that is most relevant to your question.
3. Browse through the answers already provided.
4. If you don’t find what you are looking for, post your question under the most relevant heading.
5. Check back frequently until you find your question answered.


  1. Lesley says:

    Hi Chuck, copyright is automatic upon the creation of a work in some sort of fixed form. Merely digitizing a work does not necessarily mean that the new work is one protected by copyright. It depends on the skill etc that went into making the new work. It very much depends on the circumstances in each specific case so it is something you would have to further investigate.

  2. Chuck Bowen says:

    I own a series of 5×7 glass photography negative plates made in 1903 of cowboys. I have digitized some of the plates and now the amazing details is even better than ever. Can I gain a copyright since I have “made them my own” by digitizing them? Perhaps I could apply a trademark? I assume by owning the negatives I still do not own copyright and they are still in public domain. I would like to be able to sell these photographs without fear of them being stolen. Digitizing is a considerable added expense.

  3. Lesley says:

    Hi Sheree, that is not a copyright question. Speak to your corporate lawyer for advice.

  4. Sheree Pell says:

    Hi Lesley.
    I work as webmaster for a medical client whom my company has designed an online pharmacy and educational site for. My client is wondering whether or not someone could sue them for following advice (that went wrong) that they gave in a Q&A column or blog?

    Thank you.

  5. Lesley says:

    Hi Stephanie, that’s an expression I’ve heard many, many times. Generally, words and short phrases and jokes are not protected by copyright.

  6. stephanie says:

    hi i was thinking of using the words Price:$500. Value: priceless
    in a scholarship essay but then i remembered i had heard it in Tv for a credit card commercial if i remember correctly. can i use those words or is that copyright?

  7. Lesley says:

    Hi Zim, did your grandfather leave the rights to any specific heirs? If not, the rights go to the heirs who own his physical property.

  8. Zim says:

    My Grandfather was an artist and only produced original work; he never produced copies of any kind. He passed away 15-years ago.

    Our family has a significant collection of his work dating back to 1947. One son and daughter (my aunt and uncle) are alive and well. I would like to produce limited editions of some of his paintings. Who owns the rights and how would I go about securing/sharing/accessing the rights?

    Thanks in advance.

  9. Lesley says:

    You have certainly mitigated your damages by taking it down right away. Google search engine finds a variety of images, many of which are protected by copyright. So, it is possible that you should have obtained permission prior to using the image. You may need to research if the image is protected by copyright.

  10. Chris says:

    Hello. I own a limousine company- for one of my images, i used an image i found on a public website through a google search I was then notified that the “owner” of this image wanted it taken down due to copy right. We immediately took it down. Now they are trying to take me to court to sew me for over $700. Can they legally do this or is there a law that can protect me?

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