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Can I use an image from 1931 without infringing on its copyright, and if so, how do I determine its current copyright status?

**Public Domain in the US**: Works created before 1923 are generally in the public domain in the United States, meaning no copyright exists.

**Creator's Jurisdiction**: The legal status of a 1931 image depends on its creator and the jurisdiction in which you are operating.

**Researching Ownership Records**: Researching ownership records is crucial to determine the copyright status, which can be found in public archives, libraries, and copyright offices.

**International Copyright Laws**: Copyright laws vary widely around the world, and international users must consider the specific regulations of their country.

**Publication and Registration**: In the US, even a very old work can still be under copyright if it has never been published or registered.

**Creation Date vs.

Copyright Term**: The creation date does not determine the term of copyright, but it can be a factor in determining the copyright status.

**Ownership vs.

Copyright**: Ownership of a photo does not mean you own the copyright of that photo; in most cases, the photographer owns the copyright.

**Google Image Search**: When searching in Google Images, you can select "Tools" on the righthand side of the menu, then select an option that fits your needs from the "Usage rights" menu.

**Flickr Search**: On Flickr, select the licensing dropdown menu at the far left and choose the option that fits your needs.

**19th-Century Works**: A 19th-century painting will be out of copyright, so you can set up an easel, copy it yourself, or even take a photo, as long as the owner doesn't mind.

**Search Copyright Records**: You can search online copyright records by choosing from an option below on the Copyright Public Records Portal.

**Reverse Image Search**: You can use reverse image search to find the original source or a version of the photo with a watermark or something that helps you find the copyright status.

**No Exact Method**: There's no exact method to determine whether a work is in the public domain because the laws have changed over time.

**Public Domain Cutoff Dates**: Many countries provide for the public domain status of older works, with varying cutoff dates.

**Consulting Copyright Offices**: Consult the relevant copyright office or legal professionals for precise information regarding the copyright status of a 1931 image in your jurisdiction.

**Creative Commons Licenses**: Creative Commons licenses allow creators to waive some of their rights, making their works more accessible for reuse.

**Fair Use**: Fair use provisions allow for limited use of copyrighted materials without permission, but the criteria for fair use can be complex.

**Snake-in-the-Grass Issue**: The photographer may claim ownership under contract law, which does not apply for flat works like paintings.

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