IF YOU ARE CONTEMPLATING PUBLISHING ANY WPA NATIONAL PARK IMAGES, PLEASE READ THIS FIRST:
THE HISTORIC WPA PRINTS
Between 1938 and 1941 the WPA Federal Poster Project printed silkscreen prints for just 14 National Parks before being halted by the onset of WWII. By 1950 most of these approximately 1400 (estimated 100 copies each) poster prints had disappeared into history.
Today, 12 of the 14 original posters (for a total of 42 copies) have been found with five recently purchased by the Library of Congress. It is these five prints (Yellowstone Geyser, Fort Marion, Zion, Grand Canyon and Lassen Volcanic) that are back in the public domain. They may be found here: http://www.loc.gov/search/?q=wpa+national+park&in=original-format%3Aphoto%2C+print%2C+drawing
The remaining original prints are in private collections.
The National Park Service also has black and white photographs of 13 of the 14 historic prints (excluding Bandelier National Monument). These may be found at the Harper’s Ferry Archives and are also in the public domain. These are very crude and faded photos taken in 1950—it took me about 5 years to separate and redraw screens at an approximate cost of $150,000.
In the process of redrawing these screens, and to protect my work, I added four layers of encryption and took copyright on these redrawn screens. These are the historic images published on this website. They are fully copyrighted by me as derivative art, and are not in the public domain.
In short, don’t lift images off this website, or copy them in any way without permission. We do offer license for some uses of our redrawn art which is much cheaper than starting over or incurring liability for copyright infringement. Anyone who wants to take the time to reconstruct these images from the federal archives is welcome.
THE CONTEMPORARY DESIGNS
After completing restoration of the fourteen historic prints, many national parks, beginning with Devils Tower, approached me to design and screen print posters that would fit in with the historic set. We have now produced approximately 25 additional contemporary images “in the style of the WPA” for most of our National Parks & Monuments and hold 100% copyright on these images. These are not historic prints and are not in the public domain.
For 20 years since my first republications, I’ve seen virtually every one of our copyrighted designs applied to every type of product imaginable; tee shirts, mugs, coffee bags, neck ties, underwear, soap wrappers, beer coasters, stickers, paperweights, refer magnets, and the like. Recently a major clothing company printed over 50,000 tee shirts with our copyrighted designs; this was a very expensive mistake. I feel this not only cheapens this wonderful art, but also the artists, and our National Parks.
To date I’ve collected well over $50,000 in penalties for copyright violation—most of which has been donated back to our National Parks. Do not join this unique club; I prefer you donate money directly to the parks, like I do.
Ranger Doug's reproductions are the only silk-screened versions of this art that you can buy. We work directly with each park to create unique and historically accurate designs and screen print them, as did the original WPA artists. Many internet copies are digitally bootlegged and photocopied with on-demand printers. Besides violating our copyright, they are of poor quality.
If you have any questions about what is copyrighted and what is not, please send us an email (email@example.com) with your questions or requests. I will be happy to clarify these issues further.
Ranger Doug “Ranger of the Lost Art”