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#167786 08/20/07 06:48 AM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
During my stay in Budapest I also paid the Magyar Elektrotechnikai Muzeum a visit, an incredible collection of electrical related items from the very first experimental generators to transformers and railway equipment.
They also show a huge display of histric light switches, receptacles, bell buttons,...
Some of the oldest switches, around 1880-1900 I guess, were clearly similar if not identical to the US push button switches of those days.

It sounds not all that unlikely there might have been a US influence, after all, Budapest was partially electrified by the "Austrian Edison Company". The other part of the city was at the very same time electrified by a different company using AC...

The museum itself is located inside a former rectifier substation, later transformer station.

I do have pictures, but I'm afraid I can't publish them on the internet for copyright issues.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Tex, did you take the pics with your own camera or were they got in the museum? If you took the pics, you own the copyrights, automatically. If the museum sold/gave them to you, they own them. No 'copyright note' needs to appear on any published work- copyright exists automatically. BUT: The actual museum itself, ie the exhibits and building or ideas, cannot be copyrighted. This is why a lot of locations like this try to ban cameras.

This area is a bit vague, in the sense that the internet operates worldwide, but copyright is vested in each nations' laws, based on the Berne Convention, but I believe you can publish pics to enhance your own description of something [ie not cribbing someone elses writing by copy/paste!] provided that the accompanying pictures are of minimum detail to enable the description to be fully understood. Since that's vague enough to get sued, take care!

What is certain is that you are safe posting copies of any material published in the US before 1923, anything published by the US Government [but not the US Mail for some reason], and any copyright owner's material, if they've been dead for at least 70 years.

Perhaps Bill/Mods would like to give us more guidance on this subject?

Wood work but can't!
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
That sounds reasonable... I took the pictures myself, I was even invited to take pictures if I wanted. The guide, a white haired gentleman was very eager to explain and show us everything the museum had.
I'll try to cut out the switches (I only have large overview pictures) and post them.

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
Originally Posted by Alan Belson
Perhaps Bill/Mods would like to give us more guidance on this subject?

In the US we have what is called 'fair use' of copyrighted is also somewhat vague.

I also do not know how it fits in with other countries laws.

Fair Use

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
I'll try to find more about Austrian laws. My knowledge is merely restricted to the paragraphs covering photography in public areas (I read a lot of streetcar/railway boards and that issue comes up there quite often).

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
I would think that if you took the pictures yourself, then the copyright is yours, and bear in mind that the ECN server is located in Long Island, N.Y., so is under U.S. law.

European laws can be weird though (from our Anglo-American perspective), so I wouldn't like to say for sure. A couple of people have recently fallen foul of the fact that Austria does not have freedom of speech, so copyright could easily be a minefield there as well.

Add that you took the pictures in a third country, and who knows? I wouldn't have thought the museum would object though, especially if the proprietor invited you to take photos.

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
I fear it's even worse... I didn't get an answer from Austria but from Germany I heard this: "Can you PROVE you were allowed to take the pictures?"

I think from a legal point of view there are 2 different issues. First, copyright. It's in the hand of whoever held the camera (as long as we're talking amateur pictures, a paid photographer working for a company is a different thing, here the company owns the copyright).
Publishing the picture might be a different cup of tea though.It is indeed true, that ECN can't be held responsible for hosting the pictures, so I'll probably post some of the pictures.

What are you reffering to concerning freedom of speech?
The only issue that comes to my mind is Nazi related topics. It's pretty tough to actually get persecuted for that, things have to be pretty bad. (There's a felony called "Wiederbetätigung" which means you must not praise the Nazi regime or its deeds and similar issues. For example, it is technically illegal to say in public there weren't any gas chambers in the concentration camps.

And as far as only this very dark chapter of history is concerned I can absolutely live with this small restriction of the freedom of speech.
Besides, I think this law was originally instated by the allied troops who saved us from the Nazis.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Hungary and Austria are full members of the EEC.
It is one condition of entry into the EEC that the copyright laws set out in the Berne Convention are enacted in law before entry can be granted, with small local variation.
For instance, the French add on the years of WWII to the '70 years after death of owner' rule. How they make it 14 years is beyond me, but I only live here!

A photo, or indeed any image is automatically owned by the creator, [ or his employer if he/she was paid to make it ].
The museum owns diddly squat.

You don't need proof that you had permission in order to claim copyright. Your pics are unique, if you like, your 'work of art', and any artifact you photograph is not copyrightable, since it's not an image! It's possible that you could commit another misdemeanor, like espionage or trespass or criminal assault [ say by flash-photographing an Epileptics Convention! ], but you'd still hold the copyright while lounging in jail!

Wood work but can't!
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,252
djk Offline
In terms of freedom of speech, it's guaranteed under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Austria is a signatory. (Details everything)

The EU and European Courts can enforce that law and override any member state's national legal system.

The only thing that usually causes problems is train spotters (enthusiasts) who may irritate various European railway companies staff. Railways are usually classified as private property and are subject to bylaws. So, they can prohibit photography quite easily.

It's understandable though as some of these train spotters do crazy things like wander into railway yards, try to take pictures of the interior of drivers cabs, will walk onto rolling stock that is not in service etc etc.. They can really create quite a problem. So, you'll find that while railways don't mind tourists and normal travellers taking photos, they can be rather tough when it comes to 'train spotter' types.

Same goes for a museum. They're within their rights to ask you not to take photographs. It's nothing to do with copyright, it's simply that they can have their own house rules in the same way as any private company can.

Another interesting one is that the European Commission is increasingly taking a very strong stance on the right to install satellite receiving equipment. Local planning permission regulations or regulations imposed by management companies may actually be in breech of European law if they restrict the erection of satellite dishes. It's considered an affront to the concept of freedom of movement of goods and services within the EU !
I suspect there will be some cases taken as there are plenty of housing developments restricting access to satellite dishes for aesthetic reasons, or because they're trying to push whatever service is pre-wired into the building / development.

Last edited by djk; 08/21/07 08:45 PM.
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
Ok, as soon as I find the time the photos will be up (need to down size them first). They aren't very good quality unfortunately because they have been taken through glass and I didn't have time to take detail shots, only one display case at a time.

Had a lecture about the satellite dish issue yesterday (we had a satellite components and planning company give us a talk about their services at the office).
They told us a home owner/management company can not prohibit the dish installation, they can tell WHERE to install the dish though and they can insist on the dish being installed by a professional (remembering how some people hang their dishes from the wall with old shoe laces or put them righ in front of their windows so they can't close them any more that sounds reasonable).

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