I am doing a YouTube video about the history of deep sea exploration. I want to show pictures from a 1934 book and I came to the conclusion that the book is public domain because of lack of copyright renewal in the US Copyright Office archives (thanks again to David Siegel for showing where to look in his terrific answer and even better comments!), and also because other people have already taken the effort, among others the Forgotten Books editors who are selling a reprint, and The Internet Archive who holds a scanned copy free for anyone to download.

Now, can I show the pictures inside that book? There is no additional copyright notice at the foot of any of them. All you can see in the book is the following 'courtesy note' at the beginning: enter image description here

What now?

EDIT The author did the last (and only) copyright renewal in 1951.

1 Answer 1


Technically, you would have to make sure that none of those people still owned the copyright or passed it on when looking at photos in a book. However, if the book is from 32 the copyrights on those images would be expired as well.

Here is a chart that shows the length of copyrights based on the year the work was made. enter image description here


  • I forgot to say in my question, that the author did the last (and only) renewal in 1951. Does this change things? May 31, 2019 at 18:29
  • 1
    Well the copyright would be the property of the person who made the images, so you would go off when they copyrighted it.
    – Putvi
    May 31, 2019 at 18:30
  • Sorry, what do you mean with 'you would go off when they copyrighted it', my English is not so good. May 31, 2019 at 18:32
  • 2
    You would have to base the date of expiration for the image off when it was copyrighted, not when the book was copyrighted if it has a separate copyright.
    – Putvi
    May 31, 2019 at 18:33
  • So, what should I do now? Could it be that those photographers copyrighted the images separately and then renewed the copyright appropriately? May 31, 2019 at 18:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .