Vintage floral illustrations

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  • Hello, I have just started designing some wedding invitations and stationary, and I would like to make sure that I stay within legal limits for copyrights of vintage illustrations. I have seen a great number of illustrations used in the paper community from Crispin Van de Pass' A Garden of Flowers--even using the very illustration printed on the cover of the book. What I'm not clear about is whether or not these images are legally allowed to be used. Are they considered public domain? I have done a search at the US gov's Trademark website, but turned up no results. I just want to be sure before I embark on a project. Thank you for any help!
  • In considering what the copyright issues might be in using a particular work, an initial question should be whether the work is, in fact, protected. We can assume that Crispian de Passe's 1615 "A Garden of Flowers" is in the public domain due to the age of this work. That means that you can freely reproduce and distribute copies of this work for whatever purpose you wish.

    Confirming the copyright status of a work may sometimes require some research, but it is unlikely that the US Trademark office would be a resource for such investigations. Trademark is an entirely distinct legal entitity from copyright. If you want some background information on researching the copyright status of a work, you might find helpful the following free publication from the US Copyright Office:

    How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work

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