Dear Rich: I am adapting needlework-like designs used in pottery/chinaware by creating patterns for needleworkers. Much of the chinaware was produced in the 1800's but some as late as the 1960s. I have sought and received permission where possible, but not in all cases because the companies no longer exist. What are the laws covering those designs for which I cannot get permission?
We think you will be fine using the chinaware designs for needlepoint patterns but you should review the following factors:Do you need permission? You say you're only using works created before 1970. You don't need permission for designs produced before 1928 as they are in the public domain. You likely don't need permission for designs produced before 1963 because they would have to have their registrations renewed (and few were). And you don't need permission if the works were produced between 1963 and March 1989 if they did not include a copyright notice. In summary, you only need to be concerned about 1963 - 1969 designs with copyright notices.