The Aeroplane magazine

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Could anybody please tell me if there is a website where early editions of 'The Aeroplane' can be read online? I am particularly interested in 1920s and 1930s editions.
Original post

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14 years 6 months

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The only one I know of is on the Smithsonian Libraries site. It covers 1911 up to and including all of 1922. Hopefully, they will digitise more editions. It's a start anyway! https://library.si.edu/digital-library/book/aeroplane
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Thank you, both, for that information. Hitherto I was unaware that even this run of The Aeroplane was available online (the hyperlink is now bookmarked!). I too hope that at some time someone will put the post-1922 issues online (à la Flight). Often, in the course of my research, I find a reference to something in The Aeroplane or want to search for the possibility of a mention of something pertinent to that research - and, for me, it's a long way to travel to consult the RAeS Library copies at the Hub, Farnborough! When it comes to making historical aviation periodicals available online, the Bibliothèque national de France puts the British Library to shame (for example, see https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb326846379/date.r=%22cylindres+en+X%22.langFR).
Profile picture for user Schneiderman

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Its a question that really needs to be answered by Key. If anyone owns the rights to old issues of The Aeroplane it is more likely to be them than anyone else and scanning these would show that their involvement and interest in aviation publications goes a little deeper than just the current crop of monthly and occasional 'specials'. Perhaps some form of 'crowd-scanning' could be organised to cut costs and speed things up (although 20s and 30s issues are a fraction too large for a standard A4 scanner) There are sellers on ebay that sell DVD compilations of the Smithsonian scans for little money, a bit naughty but its quicker to search that way than to use the online system
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The copyright issue is an interesting one. I assume that the duration of UK copyright in issues of The Aeroplane is seventy years from the date of death of the author(s) of any specific piece of writing therein. Presumably this means that all post 1948 issues are still in copyright in the UK and there is a possibility that issues prior to this remain in copyright if authors survived beyond date of publication of their pieces of writing. That could take UK copyright back to the 1911 - 1922 issues for which, I note, the Smithsonian says that no US copyright exists. I'm afraid my knowledge of UK copyright law is limited and my knowledge of US copyright law is non-existent. If anyone has more knowledge than me and can shed light on the application of the respective laws to this specific issue, I'd be most interested to read their input.
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It seems (and I'll put it no stronger than that as I'm not qualified to do so) that even where copyright vests in a company, its duration is calculated by reference to the individual who wrote the copy (q.v. https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p01_uk_copyright_law fact sheets P-01 and P-10). Assuming that, at least for the period 1911 to 1939, most of the periodical was written by its then editor, C G Grey, as he died in 1953, until 2023 copyright remains vested in whoever is its owner by succession. Addition: I do not know the date of the death (assuming he is dead) of Thurstan James, the second of the only two editors of The Aeroplane in its original incarnation.
Profile picture for user Schneiderman

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As Flight issues are available online up to 2004 it cannot be much of a problem to deal with. In some ways I feel that copyright is used as a simple excuse not to do things.

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Copyright ? The "New Penguin Guide to the Law" author, John Pritchard, fourth edition, might help.

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7 years 6 months

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Thank you to those who have so far provided information. 1911 to 1922 is a great start. The discussion on copyright is interesting, but I am unable to add anything to it.
Profile picture for user avion ancien

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Copyright is not a problem to the copyright owner but the copyright owner (assuming the document to be in copyright) might be a problem to someone else who decided to upload their copies of the periodical to the internet without the copyright owner's consent. But this, of course, begs the question - do Key Publishing own the copyright to The Aeroplane (1911 - 1968)? I wonder if someone from the company would care to comment.
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No comment?
Profile picture for user John Aeroclub

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I have 1930 Jan to June, then 31 to 1937 full years bound volumes but only half years for 1938-39. John
Profile picture for user avion ancien

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Thank you, John. However for the avoidance of doubt, I meant that there is no comment from Key Publishing, as to whether it owns the rights to The Aeroplane magazine (1911-68), rather than no comment generally.

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My guess is that Key Publishing own the rights seeing as they are reprinting some stories from yesteryear in current issues. Probably do not have the resources to scan & publish old issues - would be quite an expensive task methinks. Keith

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See pm
Profile picture for user LonelyWarrior

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Key Publishing own the copyright to The Aeroplane. It was one of the titles purchased from Kelsey Publishing in 2015 and is listed in Annex 2 of the CMA's (Competition and Markets Authority) initial document dated April 2015
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Is that copyright to Aeroplane (formerly Aeroplane Monthly)(1973 to date) or The Aeroplane (1911 to 1968) or both? I recollect that when The Aeroplane ceased publication in 1968, it was merged with Flight International. Flight International is owned by Reed Business Information. Maybe it owns the rights to The Aeroplane? However as Flight already has been digitised and put online, one might think that if copyright in The Aeroplane is vested in Reed, it might then do the same.
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I was given to understand that this was indeed unresolved. I guess neither side is sufficiently interested in placing The Aeroplane online to bother to come to a mutually acceptable resolution.
Profile picture for user longshot

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What known complete 'public' sets of The Aeroplane (weekly) are there? National Aerospace Library (Farnborough), RAF Museum Hendon, Royal Aero Club , Air Britain, Brooklands ?...any in the provinces or Scotland ,Wales and Ireland? Any overseas...Smithsonian? Is there a complete index anywhere ?(never seen one online)
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After Reed, title in The Aeroplane (1911-68) passed to IPC. In 2010, IPC sold the magazine it published at that time - Aeroplane Monthly - and the rights to its previous incarnation - The Aeroplane - to Kelsey Publishing. Kelsey then sold its aviation and military history portfolio (about 15 titles) to Key Publishing in 2014. So, copyright for The Aeroplane, Aeroplane Monthly and Aeroplane resides with Key, or its holding company. I have attached a list of property which transferred from Kelsey to Key at the conclusion of the sale. This is taken from documents that were publicly available at the time of the sale. I have edited the list to make it pertinent to only those titles being discussed. The following titles in printed, digital and online format: 1. Aeroplane Monthly 2-8. Deleted for brevity 11. The Aeroplane 12. Deleted for brevity The following assets in respect of the titles listed above: • All goodwill relating to the titles • All intellectual property relating to the titles • All logos, trade marks (including UK registered trade mark 2135993) and copyrights in connection with the titles and associated activities • All websites and any other social media assets relating to the titles including associated accounts • All rights in internet domains in connection with the titles including: List of domain names deleted for brevity • All subscription details and all rights and obligations arising from subscriptions, save as otherwise provided in the Asset Purchase Agreement • The commercial information relating to the titles • All data relating to the titles • All work in progress relating to future issues of the titles • Back catalogue of editorial material for the titles • The Archive Collection • All design templates relating to the titles • Stock including back issues of the titles and all books and other documents relating to the subject areas of aviation and military history (excluding military ship history) • All marketing/promotional material relating to the titles • Exclusive right to use these titles and the assets in the future Remainder not relevant & deleted for brevity
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.... so do the bound copies at Hendon (Combined RAF Museum and ex-Royal Aero Club collections)