Camera-wiki.org:German document in public domain, after 1923

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Anonymous[1] documents published in Germany between January 1st, 1926 and January 1st, 1938 (as of 2008) are in the public domain in the following jurisdictions:

  • Germany, where the copyright for an anonymous work expires 70 years after its first publication;[2]
  • the other countries of the European Union, where the "shorter term" rule applies to foreign works, and a foreign document which is already in public domain in its home country is not protected.[3]

They are not in public domain in the United States, where foreign works which were not already in public domain in their home country as of January 1st, 1996 were subject to copyright restoration, and are protected until 95 years after their date of first publication.[4] The republication of advertising material published in Germany in that period probably falls under fair use in the US, and thus it is accepted in Camera-wiki.


  1. Advertising material published by a company follows the same rules as anonymous documents, unless it is explicitly signed by an individual or some individual later claimed to be the original author.
  2. Copyright law of Germany (from the Bundesministerium der Justiz website), part I, chapter 7, § 66.
  3. Council Directive 93/98/EEC of 29 October 1993 harmonizing the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights, art.7.
  4. Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States, 1 January 2007, by Peter B. Hirtle.
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