Leica Photography Magazine Archive Announcement

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by danielneal, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. Hey everyone,
    A few weeks ago, I acquired a large pile of Leica Photography magazines. I found them absolutely fascinating to read, and decided that I needed to make them available to anyone curious about early Leitz/Leica history. They're filled with really wonderful information about the early days of 35mm photography, and have some surprisingly relevant articles. For example, there's an early feature on Mary Ellen Mark (Vol. 21, No. 1: Spring 1968) and a fun article on enhancing edge adjacency effects with Rodinal (Vol. 22, No. 1: Spring 1969).
    I invested in a book scanner and have spent a lot of time scanning, correcting, OCRing, and indexing 78 old issues of Leica Photography magazine from 1949 through 1971, with some bonus issues of Leica Fotografie and Leica View from the 80s and 90s. There are gaps and missing issues in my collection, but I'm working to obtain and scan some of the missing issues with some contacts in the LHSA and from the Leica forum.
    Figuring out a way to make these historic reference materials available to anyone who is interested for free has been interesting. I've been corresponding with folks from the LHSA, who are in the process of preparing their own digitized archive for LHSA members to use for research. I obtained an unofficial blessing and some guidance on their stance regarding copyright of these old historic reference materials, and I'm providing them under the umbrella of fair use for research and reference purposes. I have not yet connected with anyone from Leica Camera, and would appreciate any contacts y'all might have.
    These magazines are freely downloadable from my archive site:
    Please let me know what you think -- feedback is cheerfully welcomed.
    All the best,
  2. Cool! Thanks for doing this. I have a few of those magazines. I can imagine that it's a lot of work.
  3. Nice idea and a useful resource, but I'm not sure Fair Use covers this project - e.g., these magazines certainly contain images to which neither the LHSA nor Leica holds the copyright, and you might be making yourself liable to claims of infringement by distributing them online. However, I Am Not A Lawyer!
  4. Isn't there a problem with copywrite?
  5. Very nice, I'll be spending some time here. One day I may even get a Leica. I sure want one.

    Rick H.
  6. Re copyright concerns:

    Yes, the concern is legitimate. I am not intended to challenge Leica's copyright in any way and, instead, am trying to
    make old, unavailable, historic reference and research materials available for free to the curious. I'm keeping my fingers
    crossed, and continuing my efforts to reach out to Leica Camera for an official (or nod-and-wink) blessing.

    Worst case scenario, my PDFs get donated to the LHSA and I take the archive down. I'm *not* making any money on
    this, to be sure.

    -- Dan
  7. I have an earlier CD from Leica with all the magazine articles up to that time -- probably 5 years ago. (One of the articles saved me from buying an "O" reproduction.)
  8. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    Very cool. Thanks a lot for your work on this. For awhile, maybe during the 1960s(?) they had a series that discussed photographs which I liked. I also remember another series that was sort of a "What's Wrong with This Picture" thing, which I thought was neat.
  9. Yes, it's not really "fair use" at all. Google have got into trouble for doing this kind of thing. If you raise the issue with Leica they may well say no. It depends on whether they have any other plans for these pubs. Their lawyers will probably deny permission just as a matter of course. As Bill says, at one time they put out a CD with back issues and they may have future plans to do a similar thing again.
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The copyright issue will not be just Leica. Richard Williams brings up the bigger issue - that copyrights of the photographers will be violated. It depends, of course, on what type of licensing Leica used with the photographers. It's unlikely it covered electronic reproduction as this was not an option at the time of publication. Seems like the photographs should be cleared with the photographers unless Leica had a complete blanket license. Otherwise, it's just another copyright nab on the web.
  11. I found my old CD. Turns out that it came from the Leica Historical Society, not from Leica, and was complete thruough 2004.
    I'll bet they would be interested in your more recent archive.
  12. I have hundreds of these dating from the fifties!
    Who wants 'em? Make me a low offer.
  13. I just realized that my CD is of the "Viewfinder" not the Leica Photography. Sorry.
  14. 1. I've been in touch w/ the LHSA. I'm giving them my PDFs, and got a very unofficial blessing from some of their
    leadership for this project.

    2. I'm finally in touch with someone at Leica -- stay tuned. I will do whatever Leica asks me to do.

    3. Suggestions that I contact the amateur photographers whose work appeared in sixty-year-old magazines for formal prior
    approval are patently absurd, if well-intentioned.
  15. Your action is appreciated and applauded.
  16. Good work, thanks
  17. Suggestions that I contact the amateur photographers whose work appeared in sixty-year-old magazines for formal prior approval are patently absurd, if well-intentioned.​
    If I were one of these photographers it wouldn't bother me, but not everybody thinks this way! Note that while the status of the photographers is neither here nor there when it comes to copyright, some of your magazines contain images from well-known professionals (e.g. various member of Magnum in the LeicaView issues from the 90s). As Jeff notes, Leica's licensing may or may not cover this sort of use.
  18. Im joining in the applaud.
    Respect for the sharing.
    Thank you.
  19. I'm appreciative of the advice. I've removed the recent (80s and 90s) stuff. The most recent stuff in the archive is now 42
    years old.

    I haven't heard back from Leica Camera AG yet. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed.
  20. I tracked down one of the photographers featured in a 1961 issue of the magazine and interviewed him. He was 11 and shot with a IIIg when the magazine was published, and he had a great photographic career: Junebug Clark
    Junebug Clark
  21. Well, after some back and forth, I got a surprisingly gracious takedown request from Leica Camera AG today.

    I'm not surprised. I am a touch disappointed that I have to take the site offline, but I'm happy that a lot of people were able
    to access it while it was live.

    I won't soapbox about copyright reform here.

    -- Dan
  22. Leica could fairly easily sponsor good quality digital access to all this magazine content over, say, 10 years old, and not
    interfere with copyright. They trade on their history and reputation; that's what this is.
  23. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Leica could fairly easily sponsor good quality digital access to all this magazine content over, say, 10 years old, and not interfere with copyright.​

    Have you seen the agreements they have with the photographers? Do you know, for example, if they allow digital reproduction?

    I'm amazed how cavalier people here are about rights of other photographers, especially when they have no knowledge of the specific circumstances. I assume everyone here is fine with their copyrights being violated whenever it suits someone else.
  24. Well, Jeff, as an editor, I suppose you would know better than I.
    As a conservator, I have been asked for permission for my articles to be digitised for on-line access, and most of our
    professional publications over a certain age are now accessible on-line.
    With images, I suppose it does depend on how the original agreements were written, at a time when there was no
    digitisation, and those agreements may have altered over time.

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