The image I am talking about is here:

The Wikimedia page indicates that:

This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.

Van Gogh died in 1890, which is more than 100 years. So is his artwork worldwide available for commercial purposes? Or am I missing something?

  • Is "world-wide" the same as "copyright term is author's life plus 100 years"? – DJohnM Mar 20 '19 at 3:42
  • Do the people who scanned or photographed the image have any claims? Perhaps someone who enhanced or modified the file? – Stefano Palazzo Mar 20 '19 at 12:35
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    @StefanoPalazzo: In the US, the answer is probably "No, unless the photos are materially different from the original artwork" (see Bridgeman v. Corel and related cases). But if the photos are materially different, then you probably don't want to use those photos in the first place because they're inaccurate representations of the art. Ironically, this means that experts in restoring and photographing art get less protection than amateurs who produce inferior images. – Kevin Mar 26 '19 at 0:12

Yes. This is why it's commonly seen in many works. Van Gogh's estate does not recieve any monetary value from trademark, nor do the current owners of the orignal work. To answer a question in the comments, because the person who scanned the picture is using it as public domain, it's not necessary. I could, for example, copy word for word an unabridged Shakespeare work from an available book printed in 2002 and print my own book.

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  • You could not, however, photocopy the book because copyright exists in the design and typography of the book. Scanning and OCR might be questionable too. You would have to type it all. – Owain Mar 20 '19 at 18:20
  • In Germany, copying a book word for word and selling it could be "unfair competition". – gnasher729 Mar 20 '19 at 20:24
  • @hszmv - the topic is copyright, trademark is completely different and would not be an issue – George White Mar 20 '19 at 23:15

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