Who owns the copyright to a POW id card image?

Jump to Last Post 1-7 of 7 discussions (13 posts)
  1. RonElFran profile image97
    RonElFranposted 4 years ago

    Who owns the copyright to a POW id card image?

    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.

  2. Sam Tumblin profile image63
    Sam Tumblinposted 4 years ago

    It seems as though it would fall under public domain since it was government issued via... our tax dollars this is a good question to research though.

    1. RonElFran profile image97
      RonElFranposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks, Sam. I'm hoping the consensus will be that it is in the public domain.

  3. Dressage Husband profile image75
    Dressage Husbandposted 4 years ago

    Ron, that is a good question. The people who took it are no longer a valid government if any are actually alive. Photographic images usually belong to the person in them or the photographer. He probably did not consent to the image being taken so he would have the rights I assume. The rights would pass according to the terms of any will or as defined by intestate rules of his country of final living.

    There could be a statute of limitations, if no one claimed the rights to it, and then it would become public domain. However to be sure you would need to ask a German lawyer and one from his country. I presume as he published it in his book that he did have good title to it at the time of publication, as most reputable publishers would check that out before publishing.

    Of course I am making some assumptions based on my knowledge of English, American and Canadian laws, all of which may differ from those of his country of origin, and there may be state or provincial rules too. At least that will get you thinking along the right tracks. To be safe, if he is alive, just request permission to use it then you would be OK I think.

    1. RonElFran profile image97
      RonElFranposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      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.

  4. lisavollrath profile image94
    lisavollrathposted 4 years ago

    Nobody owns the copyright to public documents like ID cards. Whoever took the photo of the card for the book owns the copyright for that photo.

    1. RonElFran profile image97
      RonElFranposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      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.

    2. lawrence01 profile image82
      lawrence01posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      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.

  5. Ericdierker profile image53
    Ericdierkerposted 4 years ago

    This fascinating area of law has many concepts and sources to check and cross check. In this case you would be looking into WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) which is very active in the area of internet publication. This will bring you to the EU applicable binding and non-binding regulations. Of course Germany which in general has a 50 year expiry date on copyright. And you would want to look into the concept and applicability of "Orphaned works" which yours probably falls under. The "Fair Use" doctrines may also be applicable.
    That is all interesting stuff for a nerd type like me. But your bottom line probably boils down to "who gives a darn?" This is certainly not stealing someone's creativity or livelihood. No one labored or came up with something special to make the ID. How could anyone claim to be damaged by the free speech use of such an impression? In short it is only an intellectual exercise not really a matter of practical concern.

    1. RonElFran profile image97
      RonElFranposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      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.

    2. Ericdierker profile image53
      Ericdierkerposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      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.

  6. Kappygirl profile image87
    Kappygirlposted 4 years ago

    I have no "legal" knowledge, just my own guess. It would seem at first it would be the government. But then maybe him since he put it in his own book. Or the publishers of said book. But all just total guesses.

  7. DzyMsLizzy profile image93
    DzyMsLizzyposted 4 years ago

    Hmm...I have frequently seen (and sometimes used) photos from websites for public places, e.g., national parks.  The ones I use are captioned with a notice along these lines:
    "This photo is in the public domain because it was taken by a government employee in the discharge of his duties."

    Ergo, I would think the ID card photo would fall under the same conditions, and I do not see how anyone using it in a book could obviate that original condition, any more than I (or any of us) can by using a PD image from Pixabay or that government employee in a Hub.
    Just because we wrote a piece and used a PD image does not mean we suddenly own the copyright to that image.  It's still PD, and free for anyone else to use--just not in conjunction with our original words in the article.

    (No, I'm not a lawyer, and have no legal training: that's just my own logical thinking at work.)


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)