[OSM-legal-talk] Copyright of old media / images / maps

Martin Koppenhoefer dieterdreist at gmail.com
Fri Apr 4 16:02:49 UTC 2014

Anybody can explain how it can be legal to claim copyright on old material,
say 18th or 19th century works?

When browsing the web (mostly library pages and catalogues) those
institutions often claim full copyright and prohibit reproduction,
distribution etc. of the (digitalized/scanned/photographed) works, but I
wonder on what basis they do so, given that the authors of those works are
all dead for centuries now.

Would it be legitimate to derive features (e.g. names or old names) for osm
from such sources if the distributing entity claims copyright on the

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