Commons:Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima

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Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, by Joe Rosenthal / the Associated Press

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is an iconic photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945, which depicts six United States Marines raising a U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi, during the Battle of Iwo Jima, in World War II. The photograph was first published in Sunday newspapers on February 25, 1945. It was extremely popular and was reprinted in thousands of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and came to be regarded in the United States as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war.

— Wikipedia

Commons category: Category:Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.

The Genaust video still is NOT the famous photograph. It is taken from the 16mm movie series by Genaust of the U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Iwo Jima.


Library of Congress

LoC copyright notice

From a scan of the copy on file at the US National Archives of Library of Congress's copy of the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima photo, with LoC's note on the copyright status on the back:

Joe Rosenthal, photographer, worked for the Associated Press, which sold this photo to Life. It was published in the March 26, 1945 Life magazine. That issue was copyrighted, but the copyright was not renewed. No separate copyrights or renewals were found.

— M. Ison 2/91 (per search by Jim Roberts, Copyright Office)

Associated Press


In response to a request from Wgfinley in 2005, The Associated Press gave Wikipedia permission to display the photo, but only for personal viewing.

Mr. Finley:
I am assistant general counsel for The Associated Press, and I write in response to your fax of March 29, 2005 to AP Wide World Photos on behalf of Wikipedia.
With respect to the two specific photographs you mention – Nick Ut’s Pulitizer Prize-winning image of Vietnamese children fleeing a napalm attack, and Joe Rosenthal’s photo of the flag raising on Iwo Jima – Wikipedia is authorized to display these images to its users solely for their personal viewing and not for copying or redistribution in or through any medium, provided that the images are accompanied by credit in the following manner: Nick Ut / The Associated Press; Joe Rosenthal / The Associated Press.
With respect to any and all other photographs in which The Associated Press is the copyright holder, The Associated Press reserves all its rights, and specifically does not agree that any Wikipedia publication of a copyright-protected Associated Press photo which a Wikipedia user chooses to upload would constitute fair use.
David Tomlin
Assistant General Counsel
The Associated Press

The last paragraph is actually the most interesting as the AP seemingly attempts to override American Fair use law. It was most likely written by a lawyer though: The Associated Press (..) does not agree. Merely an opinion, but written to look like a threat.

Wikimedia Commons

  • For all this, I haven't been able to find a copyright renewal on the photograph either from the records online here. It would have to be renewed in 1972 or 1973, but I don't see it at all in the visual arts (which includes photographs) renewals section. I can't find any renewals by Associated Press at all, actually, nor Rosenthal (though I doubt he'd have the rights). Perhaps it was renewed as part of another work, but what would that be?

    — Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:55, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
  • The Thinkquest links in this DR are vague, outdated and not relevant for the photograph.