My mom loved post cards. She probably bought hundreds of them over the years. And as I was going through my photo scanning project, I just skipped them, since they are under copyright to someone who isn’t me or a member of my family. This means that they aren’t really my property to do with as I please (particularly with regard to using them in my blog).
Originally I told Alex to have his children digitize them at some point in the future, but I have changed my mind.
My mom died in 2006. All of these post cards were bought within her lifetime, so none were created after 2006. For quite a few, I know what year they were purchased. This gives us kind of a baseline for figuring out when they will lapse into the public domain. So that they don’t get mixed in with our photos, they are going into a separate post cards directory. Then I am separating them by year. If I know what year we bought it (say, the picture of the church tower at Jamestown that I am looking at right now, which was purchased in 1979), that is where I put it. If I don’t, then it goes in a directory labeled “2006.” That way, we can track when, if ever, it goes into the public domain. Right now, my oldest one is of a Holiday Inn in Nashville where we stayed in 1973. The way the law goes right now, it will enter the public domain in 2069. If I live that long, I can use that photo however I want at that point (unless, of course, the law changes between now and then).
If I had the time or the inclination, I could probably come up with some kind of boundary years for some of these post cards. For example, I just found a post card of a different Holiday Inn in Nashville. Looking at photos of Holiday Inns in Nashville today, I do not see that motel at all. I looked up the phone number and found the actual address. It’s a grassy area now. I could, conceivably figure out when the building was razed, which would give me the latest possible date my mom bought that post card. Or I could just tell my descendants that they can’t use that picture until 2102. This is probably more likely the way I will go.
My current scanned photos count, by the way, is 4,386. I have also scanned in 16 post cards.
And I finally found the April 2014 National Geographic. It was in Alex’s room, just as I had suspected. So be expecting that sometime in the next month or two.