Photos from Far-Eastern Review (1908-1913)

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  • Hello everyone,

    I have an academic book under contract and am currently clearing the copyright for photos I would like to use. Amongst these photos, there are three that come from the Far-Eastern Review (, an English-language newspaper published in Manila in the early 20th century. The photos I am concerned with are from 1908/1913.

    I have found these through the Cengage Gale database. Being new to this, I (naively) assumed that these photos must be out of copyright being so old, so that I could just use them. However, after reading a bit more about copyright, I at least am not sure anymore that this is the case. One problem seems to be that these photos come from a Gale database, though I could scan them from originals I have, so that I could get around I suppose. However, I am not sure what else I would need to do to make sure I don't get into trouble because of these photos? The Far-Eastern Review has been out of print since the 1940s and no photographer is given for the photos I'd like to use. If I manage to scan these photos myself, would I be able to use them for my publication?

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  • You are correct that the photos are almost certainly in the public domain and you also are correct that Gale Cengage will probably claim copyright.  I don't think creating a digital copy of a photo allows one to claim copyright. What Gale Cengage are actually doing is claiming copyright so no other company can use the photos on their search engines. 

    If you call them, they might raise a stink. I think it would be better to take your own photos for inclusion in the book. You do want to think about how you want to cite the photos not knowing the photographer. Your publisher should have language that they generally use.

    Good Luck! and congratulations on the book!


    Carrie Russell

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