Is this Russian alphabet made of people having sex in the public domain?
March 26, 2015 9:02 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to edit, re-use, and release this sexy russian alphabet. What's the copyright status of the images, and scanned images?

Images (NSFW):
English blog post
Based on this Russian Livejournal post, with more attribution links.

I'm almost certainly overthinking this in our current era of tumblr-repurposing, but I'd like to release modified versions specifically for re-use, and like to do due diligence.

A cursory look shows Wikipedia frequently referring to this statute, but in a vague "it qualifies for one or more of these reasons" way, with lots of potential exceptions.

Does the intermediary step of scanning affect rights?
posted by to Law & Government (2 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Merkurov died in 1952, so his works are protected in Russia until 2023 (70 years pma), and in the US until 2026 (95 years after publication date).

That said, Russia and the Soviet Union before it have been shitting on international copyright for as long as it suited them, and the current situation is such that the actual heirs of artists and authors rarely see a cent of royalty money collected by unscrupulous "agencies," so unless you are standing to profit massively from this erotic alphabet and attract the attention of someone who wants some of that money... well, I see zero ethical or practical reason not to go for it. This, needless to say, is not legal advice.
posted by Behemoth at 9:20 AM on March 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't plan on profiting. The question was both for the purposes of figuring out whether I would be infringing, but also to clarify whether I could attach a license or notice to any potential released derivation.
It would be neat to actually direct contributions towards his heirs.

(+ wow, MeFi, you never cease to amaze.)
posted by at 9:33 AM on March 26, 2015

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