[Clipart] Old XIX-XX Century engravings

Jon Phillips jon at rejon.org
Sun May 15 19:30:18 PDT 2005

On Sun, 2005-05-15 at 16:52 +0200, Enric Martinez wrote:
> Hy list,
> I have rescued 3 engravings which dates back to the decades from 1890- 1910.
> The book had been my property for some time until I stored it in my
> mothers house and forgot about it.
> A few days ago I found out that the book had been completely
> vandalized and only those three engravings remained.
> I can't remember neither the title nor the other details such as
> original name, authors, publisher or date. The only thing I can
> remember is that it was in a range from 1890-1910.
> The Spanish publisher was "Espasa y Co. Editores", the firm does not
> exist any more.
> The book was about a journey to Palestine and Egypt and contained lots of 
> engravings by various authors depicting Palestinian landscapes and
> notorious buildings.
> I have a HP psc 1315 scanner (flatbed, all-in-one printer/scanner) and
> have one a first attempt at 600ppp (my scanner's maximum res) in
> grayscale.
> Although the originals are partly stained, the scans look impressing.
> IMHO they could be used even to cut some details and figures and use  them as 
> clipart items. The engravings themselves could also make for a good background.
> My questions are:
> What legal issue could I face if I would like to put those scans into
> the public domain and upload them to OpenClipart.org?

Well, it sounds that since these images are so old, they are most likely
in the public domain, but you should still check according to the
copyright law of wherever you live and where that book was originally

> As long as the original work seems to be British, I would think that
> in 115-95 years this work would already belong to Public Domain. Am I
> right?

I think this sounds right, but I don't know British copyright law. Can
someone sort this out, maybe Jonathan Leighton...you live in the UK,

> If I can finally upload this stuff:
> Are there any trick/tip relating to format or scanner setup which I
> should bear in mind for best results?

Generally, scan at a higher dpi and then use the "trace bitmap" command
in Inkscape to convert the imagery.

I would scan at 300 dpi in grayscale (these images are in black and
white, right), and then use the standard trace bitmap settings and
change the brightness threshold to suit your image best.

> So, I look forward to get an answer as I would like to preserve at
> least that bit of information.

I think this is great. I think you are clear on the copyright issues,
but just check it a little more before posting. There is however nothing
stopping you from scanning and keeping yourself, but to submit to OCAL
is even better.


Jon Phillips

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KOREA PH 010.3140.7483
jon at rejon.org

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