Beware! Are you bidding for an original or copy photograph! Have you spotted the difference, do read that description again. There are sellers (not just on eBay) that attempt to sell copies of postcards and all sorts of photographs that they have made from an original postcard or photograph by scanning without an agreement from the original photographer or publisher. The ownership of any postcard or photograph does NOT allow them to republish the image. A Wartime image taken in 1940 for example is not in the public domain, as the photograher would have had to have passed away right after taking the photograph some 70 years ago! Publish means by scanning, then taking the digital format to any high street lab for copies in which to sell these on to unsuspecting enthusiasts. Legally, as a buyer you are buying pirated copies and has a similar impact as to those who buy pirated music and software.
Ensure you buy an original postcard, or genuine photograph, not a fresh new 6x4 made by a home inkjet printer or made at one of the high street labs as the seller would have contraviened the UK laws of copyright. Would you know that buying negatives and worse still slides, does NOT guarrantee you from being persued on infringement of copyright too. When you buy negatives and slides get a written assignment from the seller that you have the rights to make copies, as a publisher may have bought the sole commercial rights before you!
Many assume copyright can be bought, but it is the rights to the image/s that can be assigned over and therefore purchased. Generally in UK keep in mind that the original photographers name should be mentioned on any future use of the image, credit where its due for thier effort and expense at the time. The date to bear in mind is 70 years after the photographer passed away, not from the date of the image, and morally forever really giving that person the credit they deserve.
Negatives and slides with signed assignments are the nearest genuine guarrantee of exclusive useage rights. A friend bought some nice looking locomotive prints, only to find they went green in colour two weeks later! Keep clear of inkjet prints, many fade, go fuzzy or change colour reacting with moisture and light, just maybe laminated may last a bit longer.
Proof of original digital images is another issue, suffice to say there are CDs floating around with copies of images aquired from the web, so get an assurance the seller has taken ALL the images on the CD.
On the last point, as we have found CDs including at least one or more image belonging to our own Picture Library, we have now joined the eBay VeRO Program