2009/3/30 Liam Wyatt <liamwyatt(a)gmail.com>om>:
Although a "non-free" project might be
useful - I have my doubts - the case
that Gerard is talking about would not be affected by it. It is just the
standard practice of museums to not want to "stick their neck out" and make
a legally binding statement that the images are PD. For example, the
Powerhouse Museum (in Sydney) publishes its "Tyrrell photographic
collection" on Flickr under the "no known copyright restrictions" license
many of these are now copied into Commons. This is in spite of the fact that
every single one of the images was taken before 1929 which makes them
It is just the legal department requirement that they not make a
legally-binding statement. It is sad, but true.
I believe these photos are in the same situation as what Gerard is talking
about? Is this a reasonable comparison? These Tyrrell collection images
definitely belong in commons, despite the Museum not making the
legally-binding PD assurances, and therefore I believe that on this basis
other museums in similar circumstances should be welcomed with open arms.
From Gerard's initial post I understood that the
main museum's problem
is dealing with copyright issues strictly. They don't
for that and, besides that, it is not rationally to deal with
copyright issues strictly in such circumstances.
First, why do they need us or Flickr? One museum in Netherlands should
have enough money to pay for servers: for 1000 EUR per month it is
possible to rent more than enough servers for them and I am sure that
some data center in Amsterdam would rent to them servers under much
better conditions. The reason is simple: they don't know how to do
that without a help from outside.
Now, if they don't know how to solve something like that logistically,
I am sure that they are far away of any useful kind of sorting their
materials. I am almost sure that their categorization of photos
(inside of hard disk folders or, worse, at CDs, DVDs or Blue Rays) is
something like: (1) photographs which we've got from donor X; (2)
photographs from 19th century in good condition; (3) photographs which
had been made by famous photographer Y and his family; (5) other
photographs of buildings; (6) color photographs made before WWII; (7)
photographs of Dutch cities; (8) other photographs in good
condition... (Note that just condition 2 is useful for us.)
In other words, they are not able to do the query like "select id from
photographs where cdate<=1928-12-31". Not to mention other conditions
which may raise number of useful photographs. This means that they
would have a significant logistic problem if they are willing to deal
So, we have three options:
* Not to do anything with them directly, but to wait for their
cooperation with Flickr and after that to take those images.
* To find volunteers to cooperate with them.
* To make a generic option for all such cases.
*If* we want to do that, I think that the third options assumes less
amount of wasted efforts than the second option.