Have you ever wondered about who "owns" the rights to a photograph, or anything else that you personally have not created, and what "rights" you might have for their use? I sure have, all the time. Obituaries, Letters, Photographs, books or magazine articles; can you use them without fear of legal litigation? How much is "fair use" and who determines what is fair?
Never fear, help is here. . .
Who Owns the Copyrights to Your Photographs by Steve Danko, who has just completed a bit of training in Copyright issues, writes about the Copyright laws in the USA and provides some links to sites with additional information.
To Post or Not to Post: That is the Question by footnoteMaven, who writes about her dilemma regarding posting a family photograph from the early 1900's. She has analyzed the origin of the photograph step-by-step and her analysis could easily be used as a checklist for determining if it is feasible to post or publish any photograph without fear of legal litigation.
In my opinion, in case anyone cares, a little bit of common sense goes a long way in determining usability in these matters. But keep in mind, the wrong decision at the wrong time could see you in court.
There is a lot of information out there on this topic, so ignorance is not an excuse: a Google search for copyright+"fair use" brings up only 6,500,000 hits, the first one being U.S. Copyright Office - Fair Use