I'm planning a hub about a man who was held as a POW by the Germans in WW2. When his prison camp was liberated, he went to the office and picked up his ID card, which he shows in his book. My question: does he own the copyright to that card image? I would say he does not, since he didn't produce or authorize the card, and the government that did produce it is defunct and its successor certainly won't claim ownership. I think that places it in the public domain. But I'd like some input on that question.
sort by best latest
Lisa, I seem to remember a Wikipedia explanation that you can't copyright a photo of a public domain image. I'll have to see if I can find one of those statements. Thanks for responding.
I think if the photo is in the 'public domain' like wikipedia then you'd be right. But if it's in a book then the writer of the book (or taker of the photo) has ownership.
Thanks, Eric. To argue against myself, our former POW might claim ownership because it's his photo and personal data on the card. But law enforcement frequently publishes the photo and personal data of prisoners with no copyright violation.
Ron, that is frequently misunderstood to be a right to exclusive use of a picture of your face. It ain't so. Oh my, every traffic cam would need a copyright waiver. Publicly taken photos of someone's likeness can be copyrighted, if unique and art.
Thanks for responding, Stephen. The former POW is an American, and the id was created by his German captors. My thought is that if someone else had picked up that id card and published it, I don't think our former POW could claim copyright violation.