Looking for sources for public domain photos

Joined
May 2, 2012
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3
#1
I'm working on a doc series on the Civil war in Mississippi and I am really struggling to find media that I can use.

I know about the Library of Congress photos, but does anyone know of any other sources?
 

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Robtweb1

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#2
Welcome from Louisiana. A rule of thumb is if the image is from the Library of Congress or the National Archives it is in the public domain. Those two sources contain huge numbers of images from the WBTS. I can't think of any sites offhand that offer what you are talking about that are not from the two sources mentioned. There are several who will sell you images for a fee. Here's one site where you might find something:



http://www.civil-war.net/searchphotos.asp?searchphotos=Richmond, VA
 
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Wake Forest, NC
#3
Wikipedia has many public domain images. They don't have a huge selection, but they are organized. You can also search images.google.com on large. Those are obviously not guaranteed to be public domain, but you can usually be pretty certain if they are, or can email the sight owner.

One thing that can be helpful is if you find a small version of an image, you can use either tineye.com or images.google.com to find a bigger version.
 

ole

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#4
Every source you visit will state the conditions of their re-use: fee, written permission, acknowledgement of ownership or just a tip of the hat. Follow conditions and you ought to be safe.
 
Joined
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#5
I've been a bit disappointed/disillusioned with owners of collections. At their prices those collections will just sit there with nobody viewing them, until the owners die and they get sold in a garage sale.

I had hoped they would take the long view and realize that this documentary will drive interest and tourism.
 

jgoodguy

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#7
For most Civil War pictures, any copyright expired years ago. Details below on what appears to proper procedure.


ll Civil War photographs are in the public domain, which means that no copyrights remain in effect for any of the images. But the canons of original research and the ethics of scholarship demand that authors, photo editors or publishers who intend to publish Civil War photographs in books, periodicals, newspapers or on the Internet secure their reproductions from a legitimate source, obtain permission from that source if necessary or appropriate, properly credit the actual source for the image and pay any user fees if the institution or collector requires a fee. Authors and photo editors should strive to obtain the best possible reproduction of the original image.
It is generally not appropriate to reproduce Civil War images scanned from other books or magazines. The poor quality of such multi-generation reproductions misrepresents and degrades the superb clarity attained by Civil War photographers with their large glass plate negatives. It is unethical and wholly inappropriate to scan images from a book and falsely credit them to another source, such as the Library of Congress. If the author feels he must use a Civil War photograph scanned from another book, he must credit the book as the source and, if possible, obtain permission from the author or publisher. As an example, authors and publishers have occasionally used obscure and otherwise-unavailable images that appear in the 10-volume Miller's Photographic History of the Civil War, which was published in 1911. While there is no one to obtain permission from and the volumes are now in the public domain, any reproduction should be credited to Miller's Photographic History of the Civil War.
- Bob Zeller
If you find a photo you like in a collection there is nothing to stop you from downloading the same photo from the Library of Congress or other govt. website. Attribute the place where you download.

The Best Source for Free, Reproduction-Quality Civil War Images

The Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division:http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/

In 2001, the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress began a comprehensive program to make low-resolution and high-resolution digital scans of all of the Civil War photographic negatives in its vast collection. Most of that work is complete and now accessible to the general public. More than 12,000 Civil and early post-war negatives that were previously unavailable on the Internet are now available for instant download. Patrons no longer have to go through the library's photoduplication service or pay fees for copy negatives or prints.

Since all Civil War photographs are in the public domain and open to free use, no permission is required to reproduce, publish, market, or use any of these thousands of images. Proper Credit is all that is required. The Library of Congress requests the following credit line:

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
[reproduction number, e.g., LC-B811-650].


Some Handy Links:
Search engine for 7,000 Civil War Photographs:
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/cwpquery.html

Information about the Library of Congress Collections:
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/cwphtml/cwpabt.html


Overview of the Major Civil War Photograph Collections:
LC-B811 series.
About 3,000 cut stereoscopic or half-stereo negatives mostly taken in the field.. Index nos. LC B811-0001 through LC B811-1292 are primarily negatives produced by Gardner's Gallery. (Many 1861-62 images were originally issued by Brady's Album Gallery). Index nos. LC B811-2282 through LC B811-4037 are primarily negatives produced by the E. & H. T. Anthony Co. as part of the War for the Union stereoscopic view series.

LC-B813 series.

About 3,000 Civil War negatives, primarily studio portraits.

LC-B815 series.

670 full, uncut stereoscopic negatives taken in the field by Gardner's Gallery. (Includes 1861-62 images originally by Brady's Album Gallery).

LC-B817 series.

758 large-plate, single-lens negatives taken in the field by Gardner's Gallery. (Includes 1861-62 images originally by Brady's Album Gallery).

LC-B8156 series.
Forty-four large plate negatives taken in South Carolina by the photographers Haas and Peale.

Brady-Handy Collection. LC-BH82 series.

About 5,000 glass negatives, chiefly portraits (many of military officers), circa 1860-1875, by Mathew Brady and Levin C. Handy studios.
Return to Table of Contents
 

jgoodguy

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#8
If you are going to profit by it, you will be held to a higher standard that if you are going to use it on Facebook, or a personal blog. Copyright litigation is very expensive and unless the holder expects to get a judgement in 5 or more figures, it is not worth their time.

OTOH, it is best and more ethical to attribute.
 



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