File:Olivia de Havilland Publicity Photo for Gone with the Wind 1939.jpg

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English: Olivia de Havilland publicity photo for Gone with the Wind, 1939
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Source eBay
Author MGM
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This is a publicity photo taken to promote an actress. As stated by film production expert Eve Light Honthaner in The Complete Film Production Handbook, (Focal Press, 2001 p. 211.):

"Publicity photos (star headshots) have traditionally not been copyrighted. Since they are disseminated to the public, they are generally considered public domain, and therefore clearance by the studio that produced them is not necessary."

Nancy Wolff, includes a similar explanation:

"There is a vast body of photographs, including but not limited to publicity stills, that have no notice as to who may have created them." (The Professional Photographer's Legal Handbook By Nancy E. Wolff, Allworth Communications, 2007, p. 55.)

Film industry author Gerald Mast, in Film Study and the Copyright Law (1989) p. 87, writes:

"According to the old copyright act, such production stills were not automatically copyrighted as part of the film and required separate copyrights as photographic stills. The new copyright act similarly excludes the production still from automatic copyright but gives the film's copyright owner a five-year period in which to copyright the stills. Most studios have never bothered to copyright these stills because they were happy to see them pass into the public domain, to be used by as many people in as many publications as possible."

Kristin Thompson, committee chairperson of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies writes in the conclusion of a 1993 conference with cinema scholars and editors, that they "expressed the opinion that it is not necessary for authors to request permission to reproduce frame enlargements ... [and] some trade presses that publish educational and scholarly film books also take the position that permission is not necessary for reproducing frame enlargements and publicity photographs." ("Fair Usage Publication of Film Stills" by Kristin Thompson, Society for Cinema and Media Studies)

Note on non-renewalː The back of the photo indicates that the Minneapolis Journal received the photo in November 1936, but did not use it for publication until February 17, 1937. A check of publications renewals for the Minneapolis Journal for the years 1964 and 1965 showed that the paper did not renew any issues during those two years.

Licensing[edit]

Public domain
This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1924 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed. Unless its author has been dead for the required period, it is copyrighted in the countries or areas that do not apply the rule of the shorter term for US works, such as Canada (50 pma), Mainland China (50 pma, not Hong Kong or Macao), Germany (70 pma), Mexico (100 pma), Switzerland (70 pma), and other countries with individual treaties. See Commons:Hirtle chart for further explanation.

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