Mate, yes of course I saw the watermark.
A watermark simply does not mean it has a valid copyright today. (btw there is free software on-line for watermarking photos so anyone can do it easily).
It means, equally like any other "thing", it may have copyright... or (for example) just be a spoiler placed on it by some poster or site that is unsure.
And like anything on the internet, you do not take it at face value.
A watermark can (but not necessarily) mean that a magnanimous Owner is happy to have their work up on the net provided that it is :
1. Suitably spoiled/watermarked and low-res such that it cannot be commercially copied. (such samples are a good photo-business advertiser).
2. If applicable, not too spoiled such that it cannot be utilised under the Fair Dealing provision, such as for study or research, as in this case. (ref my example of the Lawson pipe pic and acknowledging the Mitchell)
3. If someone wants to get permission to use it commercially and/or pay royalties, there is a lead to locating the owner.
Cultural Collections (like recognised historic bush poetry and other materials Collections) and Museums have certain other exemptions, but I will not bore anyone with that..
BTW.. a quick Google search on the letters DWSPL produce nothing. So I suggest that they are likely random spoiling letters. If you had a valid copyright, would you not openly say who you were if you went to the trouble of watermarking?
However....as I said before.. the above in this case had no interest to me.. it is simply irrelevant... because I was operating precisely under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act. Odd watermark or not.
Even if a copyright was valid, I and anybody else doing research and reviews are perfectly entitled to post such a photo in pursuing those ends. Especially of someone like Lawson. And if "DWSPL" was the copyright holder as you suggest, then they have been duly and legally acknowledged ... obviously.
It is important to appreciate that copyright is not a rigid bogey to be feared!
Read about what you can and cannot do.
Operate accordingly, in good faith, and everyone benefits from furthering their knowledge of bush poetry. Do not put restrictions on yourself or others where you do not need to.
Copyright does not mean you cannot reproduce a photo. You can, provided you respect the Fair Dealing rules. You do not have to always "ask permission".
**Recently I wanted to buy on-line for about $40 a quality photo of Leonard Teale from the on-line shop of a well-known newspaper. They took the photo and it was their copyright, no question. The carefully read fine-print (contractual) restrictions on what you could do with it were so onerous for my purposes (I could not even loan it!) that I walked away and kept my $40. I object to paying $40 and then have to be a de facto free advertiser for them too, especially when you are doing your best for Australia at your own very-high personal financial cost, as I am. It detracts from the photo. It was out of the spirit. But that is just me. I would have owned the photo and, like the art-lady, would not have been free to even organise displaying it!! nah...
One attempts to follow the rules. Provided you do not abuse it, the Fair Dealing provision means you can post material that has a valid copyright. Take reasonable steps to acknowledge the copyright owner, but do not be prevented if you cannot find it in an old book, and you want to put it up for discussion/review.. so much in old books for study/sharing/educational purposes for ABPA.
In all the work I do currently in the area of Bush Poetry, and the enormously interesting and relevant material that I take time off to post for the benefit of fellow ABPA members, I follow the rules. Respect.. and common sense. In return it would be nice to get some small appreciation for it Neil. Even a post that says instead "hey mate, thanks.. " will do.
Constructive contributions are good.
Not to say I will not slip up at some time.. being human I likely will... perhaps forget to acknowledge a source? and for that I apologise in advance... but this instance is certainly not one of them.
If uncertain, just acknowledge the Mitchell Library in NSW. They seem to have everything .. unfortunately.