Confirmed! I'm oldest male descendant with ???

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After extensive genealogical research I've discovered that I'm the oldest and next to last living male descendant (have a younger brother) of a CSA pvt who fought at Shiloh and succumbed to disease not long after. The soldier is actually my GGG Grandfather paternal side. He and his 2 brothers were CSA soldiers they survived and each of their wives receved pensions also verified. I don't want to bore everyone with my family history so, let's, for the sake of time, just sum it up with I've known very very little about anyone on my paternal side nor, did I really care until I retired and my ACW obsession grew into whatever an obsession to the 10th power is called.
My GGG Grandfather actually had a photo taken and the photo is very well known. I've seen it posted on this forum. My question(s) are.
1. How would I go about acquiring the actual photo? I'm not sure where the original resides. It is part of the Library of Congress collection I'm assuming it's physically in their archives but, not sure how that works. The picture can be viewed at LOC website.
2. His photo was made sometime between 1861and April 1862. Would it have been copyright protected?
3. I have created an entire genealogical record which verifies the relation so, do I have any ownership claim?
4. If any of you have ever discovered your ancestors had physical property still around but, that property was in the hands of non related others and/or entities are selling for profit your relatives image or property what would you do? What did you do?
If there's a way to acquire the photo my goal would be to donate to a Shiloh museum. Any response is greatly appreciated.
 

AndyHall

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  1. If it's online at the LoC, it should be possible to download a high-resolution copy of it, that you can have printed in any number of formats. You won't be able to have the original, but it's in good hands.
  2. Not copyright-protected now. Public domain, both by its age and the fact that it's an LoC image.
  3. Claim to the original copy (i.e., CDV, tinplate, etc.)? No, you cannot claim that.
  4. If an artifact from one of your ancestors is in private hands, you can always offer to purchase it, but that's about all. Being related to the original owner doesn't give you any claim to the property.

Regarding a museum at Shiloh, I would encourage you to work with them to use the image from the LoC (a copy), together with your research on the ancestor.
 

John Winn

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That is an interesting find. Thanks for sharing - we like these sorts of things.

In short, there is no copyright now and the current owner is the owner. So, if you wanted the original - and it's not at the LOC - you'd have to convince the owner to sell it. I'd bet a very large sum that if the LOC is the owner they will not sell it to you. I'm going to guess the best you can do is obtain a high resolution image from the LOC and have a good print made.

Edit: Andy posted while I was typing. He is correct.
 
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Thanks for the info. I figured it was in public domain. I assume since the LoC has it available to acquire hi rez images or simply exhibits the image online which it does means it's physically in their possession? If that's the case then I don't think there is a more ideal place to house it. Side question....So, these "ACW relics, photo and such" online and brick and mortar sellers can grab any image or photo from the era and market it?
 

DaveBrt

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The original owner of the copyright was the photographer, not the person being photographed. The copyright remained with the photographer and his decedents until the copyright expired. A later person can create a truly changed version of a photo (ie cropped and colored it) and thereby creates a copyright for the work on the new photo.

If you want to protect your copyright, you must take action against substantially all violators.
 
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John Winn

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Thanks for the info. I figured it was in public domain. I assume since the LoC has it available to acquire hi rez images or simply exhibits the image online which it does means it's physically in their possession? If that's the case then I don't think there is a more ideal place to house it. Side question....So, these "ACW relics, photo and such" online and brick and mortar sellers can grab any image or photo from the era and market it?
As has been stated, the owner of the copyright was the photographer. In the US all material created before 1922 is public domain so there's no copyright on the original image in question. So, yeah, people can sell images from before 1922 and can publish them. One would be foolish to pay for a public domain image but selling one isn't illegal.

In the case of photos, prints are the personal property of the purchaser and the purchaser can sell them even if the copyright is still in effect. Publishing of the prints or reproducing copies of the prints, though, can legally only be done by the copyright holder as long as the copyright remains in effect.

As to other types of relics they're just physical objects and so are the property of whoever last bought or, maybe, found them. The 'maybe' is because ownership may be dependent on where something was found. One cannot, for instance, collect man-made objects older than 100 years from federal lands so any such objects remain the property of the United States. And something collected on private land without permission would be considered stolen property. But if an object was legally obtained the owner is the owner and can sell it. There is no inherent right of ownership just because some relation once owned an object.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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Are you referring to LoC images you tend to see on Ebay and elsewhere for sale? Some are even watermarked with the seller's personal information. That is clear nonsense- no one may just swipe a photograph from our national collections and state " This is now mine ", but I guess selling it must be just fine. In my opinion it shouldn't be considering these images belong to all of us.

There exists no copyright inherent through being related to someone in a photograph, either, where these extreme dates are concerned. Could you imagine say, a Lincoln or Grant relative trying to maintain control of their images, world wide? It's enough, having one's ancestor so widely known! Goodness! So many with ancestors in the war do not have a single image of that person and would walk from Shiloh to Gettysburg on their knees for one.
 
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To the OP can you post the image again, or refer us to what forum topic it was shown in?
I'd like to but, to do so would eventually lead to losing my anonymity. Some of my opinions or facts that I sometimes vigorously defend or state on here could create unnecessary issues in my professional life. So, I'd like to maintain the anonymity.
 
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DixieRifles

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I'd like to but, to do so would eventually lead to losing my anonymity. Some of my opinions or facts that I sometimes vigorously defend or state on here could create unnecessary issues in my professional life. So, I'd like to maintain the anonymity.
Hmmm. I thought you were retired. No job; no income; no worries.
 

Drew

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I'd like to but, to do so would eventually lead to losing my anonymity. Some of my opinions or facts that I sometimes vigorously defend or state on here could create unnecessary issues in my professional life. So, I'd like to maintain the anonymity.
Our current climate is one in which dissent may be severely punished and that is terribly unfortunate, to say the least. Congrats on your find and FWIW I think you've got really good guidance here with respect to the photograph.
 
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