Declined for a missing release for an antique engraving?

Explorer ,
Feb 07, 2019

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I uploaded antique engravings of several objects against white. About half were accepted and the other half were put in a reminder state marked "Property Release Missing." The problem is, there are no properties displayed in these images. Or people. Or anything else that'd warrant a release. I thought maybe I had mis-categorized the images as needing a release, so I double-checked and re-submitted them. Now they've been declined with no further transparency is offered. I'm completely baffled at the seeming randomness.

Accepted:

unnamed-1.jpg

Rejected:

unnamed.jpg

Why?

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Abambo | Adobe Community Professional

joerivera  wrote

Why?

Because of 2 different moderators.

joerivera  wrote

I thought maybe I had mis-categorized the images as needing a release, so I double-checked and re-submitted them. Now they've been declined with no further transparency is offered. I'm completely baffled at the seeming randomness.

If a release has been asked it is required (in the eyes of the moderator). It's not what you think what is needed but what the moderator thinks what is needed. Resubmitting without property release results in a refusal. At least that part of the operation is transparent.

Now concerning (c): If you scanned from the original book and the book has been published before a certain date (something around 1900), it is clear that there is no (c) on the published data any more. Artwork after that data is protected for 70 years after the death of the original creator (not the book publisher or the book author). So currently all artwork of a creator who died in 1949 or before is in the public domain. As Dave Merchant​ points out, that may not be the case for derived work.

Now the moderator has no chance to see if the (c) did effectively run out or not. However, my understanding is, that if your work is considerably more than scanning, you could propose that work as derived art and you may claim (c) on that work. But it's complicated and it is a very complex issue. I suppose, however, that the pictures have been fallen into public domain and that uploading them to a site like Adobe Stock could be considered as a misappropriation of (c) where (c) is no more available. If you want to make the illustrations available to the public, I suggest you upload them at one of the sites offering free pictures.

As there is no mainstreamed appeal process, either you take your chance and continue submitting, hopping that the next moderator does not refuse your pictures or you stop submitting to Adobe stock...

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Declined for a missing release for an antique engraving?

Explorer ,
Feb 07, 2019

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I uploaded antique engravings of several objects against white. About half were accepted and the other half were put in a reminder state marked "Property Release Missing." The problem is, there are no properties displayed in these images. Or people. Or anything else that'd warrant a release. I thought maybe I had mis-categorized the images as needing a release, so I double-checked and re-submitted them. Now they've been declined with no further transparency is offered. I'm completely baffled at the seeming randomness.

Accepted:

unnamed-1.jpg

Rejected:

unnamed.jpg

Why?

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Abambo | Adobe Community Professional

joerivera  wrote

Why?

Because of 2 different moderators.

joerivera  wrote

I thought maybe I had mis-categorized the images as needing a release, so I double-checked and re-submitted them. Now they've been declined with no further transparency is offered. I'm completely baffled at the seeming randomness.

If a release has been asked it is required (in the eyes of the moderator). It's not what you think what is needed but what the moderator thinks what is needed. Resubmitting without property release results in a refusal. At least that part of the operation is transparent.

Now concerning (c): If you scanned from the original book and the book has been published before a certain date (something around 1900), it is clear that there is no (c) on the published data any more. Artwork after that data is protected for 70 years after the death of the original creator (not the book publisher or the book author). So currently all artwork of a creator who died in 1949 or before is in the public domain. As Dave Merchant​ points out, that may not be the case for derived work.

Now the moderator has no chance to see if the (c) did effectively run out or not. However, my understanding is, that if your work is considerably more than scanning, you could propose that work as derived art and you may claim (c) on that work. But it's complicated and it is a very complex issue. I suppose, however, that the pictures have been fallen into public domain and that uploading them to a site like Adobe Stock could be considered as a misappropriation of (c) where (c) is no more available. If you want to make the illustrations available to the public, I suggest you upload them at one of the sites offering free pictures.

As there is no mainstreamed appeal process, either you take your chance and continue submitting, hopping that the next moderator does not refuse your pictures or you stop submitting to Adobe stock...

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Feb 07, 2019 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 07, 2019

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The property in question is the book that these engravings came from. See https://helpx.adobe.com/stock/contributor/help/property-release.html

As to it being bafflingly random, yes it is. What happens to an image depends entirely on which moderator sees it, since all the "guidelines" are subjective.

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Explorer ,
Feb 07, 2019

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I considered that, but since the guidelines say “Copyrighted works like art, books, maps, fictional characters” and since we’re talking about an illustration from a tattered old book from the late 1700’s, published by people and companies long dead, and waaaaay out of copyright, I can’t imagine what action Adobe would expect me to take.

Perhaps I’ll try and track down a relative of the deer who posed for this engraver.

Its a shame, I collect these old books and lovingly scan and restore the engravings as a hobby. Would love to share them with other artists on here, but not if it’s going to be a crapshoot without clearly defined moderation.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 08, 2019

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Copyright in printed works is complicated. While an original work may have fallen out of copyright, if it was reprinted with modifications then those reprints can remain in copyright - depending on the countries it was sold in and the wording of the new publisher's claim of right. The moderator has no way to verify where your image came from, only that it was not your work. Quite frankly if you'd said it was your own drawing and signed your own release, nobody would have batted an eyelid.

It's one of the many drawbacks of microstock; the rules are made so a handful of people can sift through thousands of images a day, clicking YES/NO as fast as they possibly can. They simply do not have the time or inclination to do background checks like a proper picture library. For every saleable image they throw out, another ten will arrive before you can say "profit margin".

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Feb 08, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 08, 2019

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joerivera  wrote

Why?

Because of 2 different moderators.

joerivera  wrote

I thought maybe I had mis-categorized the images as needing a release, so I double-checked and re-submitted them. Now they've been declined with no further transparency is offered. I'm completely baffled at the seeming randomness.

If a release has been asked it is required (in the eyes of the moderator). It's not what you think what is needed but what the moderator thinks what is needed. Resubmitting without property release results in a refusal. At least that part of the operation is transparent.

Now concerning (c): If you scanned from the original book and the book has been published before a certain date (something around 1900), it is clear that there is no (c) on the published data any more. Artwork after that data is protected for 70 years after the death of the original creator (not the book publisher or the book author). So currently all artwork of a creator who died in 1949 or before is in the public domain. As Dave Merchant​ points out, that may not be the case for derived work.

Now the moderator has no chance to see if the (c) did effectively run out or not. However, my understanding is, that if your work is considerably more than scanning, you could propose that work as derived art and you may claim (c) on that work. But it's complicated and it is a very complex issue. I suppose, however, that the pictures have been fallen into public domain and that uploading them to a site like Adobe Stock could be considered as a misappropriation of (c) where (c) is no more available. If you want to make the illustrations available to the public, I suggest you upload them at one of the sites offering free pictures.

As there is no mainstreamed appeal process, either you take your chance and continue submitting, hopping that the next moderator does not refuse your pictures or you stop submitting to Adobe stock...

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Feb 08, 2019 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 08, 2019

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Bear in mind that you are also in a catch-22 situation because you cannot sell public domain works on Stock. Prove the engravings are in copyright and you need a property release. Prove they are not, and you can't submit them.

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Feb 08, 2019 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 08, 2019

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Dave+Merchant  wrote

Bear in mind that you are also in a catch-22 situation because you cannot sell public domain works on Stock. Prove the engravings are in copyright and you need a property release. Prove they are not, and you can't submit them.

I suppose you hit the point. Either the work OP did to the art data justifies a (c) on the modified data or it cannot be sold on stock (you still can sell a printed collection of the data...).

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Advisor ,
Feb 08, 2019

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Dave Merchant, Earlier - a few years ago - I published a book and so connected with the Library of Congress. They were very helpful regarding copyright laws. I asked if I could re-register expired copyright on something and they told me in great detail what it would take and cost of doing it. This is often done on expired copyright on songs, poetry and other printed things.

So, I wonder if joeriveria might file for new copyright on the book he owns so that he can post and sell the text and engravings as the registered new owner of the work. Just call the LOC and ask about expired copyrights content and ownership. They will also help you search for items listed with the LOC and the current status on the items. Yes, there are fees involved. Best regards, JH

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Explorer ,
Feb 09, 2019

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Thanks, all, for the helpful insight. It sounds like Adobe Stock may just not be right for my purposes.

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Feb 09, 2019 1
Engaged ,
Feb 10, 2019

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I don't think any agencies will accept public domain images. I can't understand you had som accepted here.

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New Here ,
Mar 11, 2019

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This is an important topic, and I think Adobe needs to clear up it's policy.  On further reading in another post on this subject I saw Adobe reply that they do not accept public domain images, and that the person who is submitting needs to be the original photographer. I believe this means that while they may not accept public domain images, they do accept images of public domains images. It's a subtle difference but an important distinction and may explain why I have seen some contributors accounts full of images of public domain works (search: woodcut facsimile illustration).

Is that right? Taking a public domain photo from the library of congress website (you didn't take the photo), vs taking a photo of an illumination in a medieval manuscript (you took the photo).

I've been a photographer specializing in making facsimiles of rare books and manuscripts for over 15 years, and have been doing this full time for 10 years. Usually I work in Special Collection libraries, archives or museums, and I'm specifically asked to make a *facsimile*. It isn't as easy as it might seem, you can't put a 500 year old book on a flatbed scanner.

Just want to define here that a facsimile is specifically clear of all subjective elements and only the clearest possible reproduction of the work. FADGI guidelines have been established on facsimile creation. There is no way to claim copyright on a facsimile for anyone, even the photographer. There is no ability to claim copyright on a photographic facsimile or the data it is presenting.

But making a clear, high resolution facsimile from a rare or antique book is not easy, and it's that skillset that I derive profit from as a photographer, and why images of public domain material should be permitted on Adobe stock. Finding the material, getting permission to photograph it, handling it and photographing it safely, and at the correct resolution, color temperature, etc. is all more than "scanning an old book". These old volumes are so incredibly rich in beautiful material, it's a shame they get caught up in questions of ownership or permission.

I don't really know the answer to this, because Adobe could easily be overwhelmed with people submitting all sorts of things. Maybe a Facsimile section with a certain standard or other arrangement. Maybe a way of submitting the source material?

WoodcutSun01.jpg

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Mar 11, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 12, 2019

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CL_110  wrote

This is an important topic, and I think Adobe needs to clear up it's policy.  On further reading in another post on this subject I saw Adobe reply that they do not accept public domain images, and that the person who is submitting needs to be the original photographer. I believe this means that while they may not accept public domain images, they do accept images of public domains images.

No. If there are images in the database that are public domain, they have been entered before Adobe took over or they have been accepted on error.

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Mar 12, 2019 0
New Here ,
Mar 12, 2019

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File 129811096 is a good example of a facsimile of a public domain image. This contributor has many images...that must have been entered before Adobe took over, or are accepted in error? If they were entered before Adobe took over, and they constitute unacceptable material, why do they remain available while I'm not able to contribute similar material? File 158484478 is another good example. Since they aren't color correct, does that somehow separate them and make them acceptable? Just trying to sort this out. Thanks.

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Mar 12, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 12, 2019

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Those pictures should not be part of Adobe stock.

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Mar 12, 2019 0
New Here ,
Mar 12, 2019

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Why not? I don't hold a position firmly either way and would like to hear your reasoning. How should images in the public domain be accessed?

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Mar 12, 2019 0
Engaged ,
Mar 12, 2019

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I think that not all manuscipts and old books are in public domain. Isn’t it up the libraries that own the books to decide? But it seems like you have a lot of excellet quality scannings which can be very useful, so maybe you could have a talk with Adobe Stock executives about it ..?

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Mar 12, 2019 0
Advisor ,
Mar 12, 2019

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Why not file for a new copyright on the book and engravings. Not very expensive to do this with the LOC.

Then the images are yours to use as you like. Just wondering. JH

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New Here ,
Mar 12, 2019

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Generally, books and manuscripts published before 1923 are in public domain. One of the reasons I've had business in making these facsimiles lately is that libraries and archives can't claim a copyright on what they own, but they very much enjoy sharing their old and rare material, and are free to do so. The "profit" they derive is that they can show off their collections and hopefully generate more funding. If they have something unique in their collection they will apply for a grant to have it photographed so they can put it on their website, but that doesn't change the content of the material, so it remains in public domain. The Smithsonian can't make a facsimile of the US Constitution and then claim copyright ownership, and in fact it *should* be made publicly available.

A library or archive only cares for the book. They may own its physically but they don't own the content. And a digital image is literally only the content of the book, not the book itself.

You can visit a university library website and see lots of digital facsimiles of works they own. In some cases you can even download it in full resolution. Some of them make statements about you not being allowed to use it without their permission, but they simply have no basis to claim copyright on a *facsimile*. Are they claiming they created it? Do they have a transfer of an established copyright? Not for a medieval manuscript they don't. 1923 is the public domain dateline, and that is now going to begin moving. This year all works created in 1924 will be released into the public domain. Next year, 1925.

You could buy a rare, old  (pre-1923) book from a bookseller, take it home, make copies, and do whatever you want with them. They key concept is that it is a facsimile, exactly like the original. If you make a facsimile, you can't claim copyright on it, but you can do whatever you want with it, including selling it to people who don't want to or can't make their own, because they don't have a copy of Bocaccio's DeCameron from 1587 or the incredible 1588 printing of Paradise Lost. That's where the value of allowing these images into the stock pool is, I think.

These old books have *a lot* of great graphic material to be used, and it is squarely in the public domain. Nobody has to actually ever buy it as stock, they could go photograph it themselves. But some people buy bottled water, and sometimes there's actually a reason to.

I guess it bothers me that there is all this great stuff out there, but people's conceptions of ownership confuse the issue, and it sits unused. It's a messy issue, and I guess I don't blame Adobe for not wanting to get near it. Still, there should be a way for it to get into the hands of designers. high quality facsimiles of rare works in the public domain.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 12, 2019

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Public domain is public domain. You can only claim (c) if you own it. You may do a new work based on public domain elements. If you record Mozart‘s music, you own (c) on your interpretation.

Scanning, however, is not an artistic act per se, so a scan cannot claim (c).

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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New Here ,
Mar 12, 2019

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Yes, you own your *performance* of Mozarts piece, but you don't own the score. And when you sell a recording of it, you're profiting from your skill as an interpreter of the work, not the creator. So, it already happens all the time in art.

I push back against the word "scan", which just reinforces misconceptions about this field of photography (reprographics) . I use a Phase One IQ3 and a set of Schnedier Kreuznach lenses, and it is strictly photography. It isn't artistic, it is rigidly technical. It's also a skill to be able to handle the material safely and photograph it without damaging it. Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative

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Engaged ,
Mar 13, 2019

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I don't know about a scan. But regarding a photo of an old book or artwork in my view the photographer has the ownership or copyright to that image - if nothing else is agreed with the owner of the book. The problem with stock is also thet the marked can get over flooded with public domain images.

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Mar 13, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 13, 2019

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You can only claim (c) of you own creative work. A faithful reproduction of something does not give you ownership on what is represented. You may or you may not own (c) on your picture, but for sure not what is represented. If, however, that prevails (ie is the only reason your picture exits), you do not own any (c).

Basically what is doe is a Xerox of a picture. You may do that with sophisticated means, but as long as no creativity is involved, there is no right attached.

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Mar 13, 2019 0
Explorer ,
Mar 20, 2019

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I think the difference in views is interesting, but all you need to do is make a property release, and copy the Copyright page of the book, with the date. Yes these can be here and should be, as useful images for people who need clipart, line drawings and old engraved images.

If one of us scans or photographs an image, cleans and adjusts and corrects flaws, we have created a new work. We can license that new transformation of the old work, as our own. There is creativity involved, unlike some here would claim.

If someone wanted to copyright these images, that's another complication. As a collection, that could be done, as a single image, putting that one image back into protection, may be difficult. There is a difference. What I mean is this, you may be able to claim copyright but if it came down to legal protection, you might not have that.

Two examples since this has been in the discussion. Someone can play an old song that's not protected, the rights of that recording are ours. We could license that recording. However if we played a modern score or arrangement, we don't own the rights to that. Same as the lineart, we have created a new interpretation.

You can't copyright a joke or a recipe, but you can copyright a  joke book or a collection of recipes. The single image from a book with an expired copyright is free to use, and in fact the whole book could be re-published. Google has been doing this online for years. Many of the Public Domain images are available free. But I will say, they aren't high resolution or very clean.

Last of all, this is only for the USA. Laws in other countries may be different. Consider that some are 70 years after the death of the author/artist, others are 100 years. Each needs to be investigated as an individual case, there's no easy answer. In the case of a work of art, such as a postcard, where the company that owned the copyright, went out of business, the protection expires.

Personally I collect vintage images and books from the 1800s. The OPs example images are pretty fine to be from the 1700s, they look more modern. No matter, metal etching and engravings are old, and were used to print books and make images that could be printed, on a press. Lithography wasn't invented until the late 1700s. Screen printing after that for actual photo reproductions.

Yes you can transform a scan or photograph into a new work and claim rights to that new work. But to do that, the work must be substantially different from the original. (ha ha, what is substantially?) Back to what is significant differences? Cleaning, fixing lines, removing flaws, creating a sharp black and white version? I think so, but you can't just shoot a brown and tan image and claim you made something new. I take over a half hour each, on mine, to make them into something new.

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Mar 20, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 20, 2019

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You are wrong in a very important part and let me explain this:

You are a designer and design a table. Very nice distingished work of design. Now there is a carpenter. He creates tables according that design. Who owns the (c) on the table? Well I think we are all ok with that being the designer.

Now you are scanning an artwork from a book and clean it up! You are not creating something new. You cannot claim (c) on the scanned data. The artwork is still in the public domain if it was before.

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Mar 20, 2019 0
Explorer ,
Mar 21, 2019

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Legally an image that the copyright has expired is public domain and I can do what I want with it. If I substantially alter it (good luck on that with a legal definition that's specific) I can copyright it as a new work. Editing, improving, cleaning, adding, removing, all create a new work, which I can license, if I want. This is about engraved line art not tables.

Historical Design | Art Deco Patterns

Dover Books

Collections of old drawings, out of copyright, can also be protected.

Going back to the OP, if someone wishes to do these kind of appropriations, manipulations, or transformations or just edit to make clean new versions, they need to include a property release and the title page from the book that shows the copyright, the date, the authors and publisher. The emphasis on the and is because you need both, not just one or the other.

You can't just write, "it's old art" copyright expired. The images that were accepted without a release should have been rejected, the items that were rejected, need a release and specifics of the publication, and they would legally be allowed.

You can have all the personal opinions you wish, whether this is ethical or anything else, but legally, marketing and licensing edited vintage art is allowed. That doesn't mean Adobe or anyone else has to accept or license it. Just that legally, it's fine. There are other stock sites that take this kind of content and there are others that refuse it.

I'm not a lawyer, I don't work for any agency, I just read and observe and collect information. What I wrote is not just my personal opinion, but rather, it is a collection of legal information from multiple sources.

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Mar 21, 2019 0