Dutch museums and archives are well organised. Many of their collections can be found, typically in the jpg format, at http://www.geheugenvannederland.nl/

The point for them istalk to us is to give more relevance to their collections. The edge Commons has over Flickr is because we actually use the material. It does however not exclude Flickr. They want to get the material out to the public and give the material its relevance in ths way. There is an archive I am talking to who is the repository of commercial publications many of them who stopped publishing. They would be interested in providing us with low res pictures and expect a referal to their high res pictures that are for sale. There is a museum that can literally not find the copyright holders because they are likely dead and there is no clue who inherited these rights.. orphans indeed.

Current copyright practices do not consider these issues. At the WMF we consider everything that is not clearly Public Domain as Copyrighted and consequently off bound when there is no official grant of a license by the copyright holder. This means that the social value of these works are destroyed. It means that a large part of our subjects do not have proper illustrations. A good example is [[en:wp:Ruud Lubbers]] a former Dutch prime minister with only US archival pictures.

Relatively Dutch archives and museums are well funded. When they say they have done their research, they did. They do put such material on Flickr. The value of the material to a possible copyright holder only grows because of the exposure. Making this material available on a low res would be an option to safe guard the interests of a potential copyright holder.

2009/3/30 Liam Wyatt <liamwyatt@gmail.com>

On 3/30/09, Milos Rancic <millosh@gmail.com> wrote:
2009/3/30 Liam Wyatt <liamwyatt@gmail.com>:

> 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
> definately PD.
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/powerhouse_museum/sets/72157604376512011/
> 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 have resources
for that and, besides that, it is not rationally to deal with
copyright issues strictly in such circumstances.

I understood from Gerard's  initial post that the question was not about their lack of resources but their/our legal concerns about copyright. Gerard: can you please confirm this either way?

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.

I do not believe this is a correct understanding. Museums (such as my previous example of the Powerhouse Museum) are not working with Flickr because they don't have the resources to host their own image collection online. They are working with Commons and/or Flickr because the realise that it is in those places where the "audience" can be found. Are you suggesting that the institutions that are involved with "Flickr Commons" (which include the US library of congress) are doing so because they don't have a proper web server of their own?!

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
with Commons.

This assumption is based on (what I believe to be) the false conclusion that the institution is technically incapable and "need our help".

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.

Assuming they didn't know how to categorise/catalogue/host their own collection then perhaps this conclusion would be correct. But working on the assumption that they are a perfectly competent institution then there is no reason not to trust their claim that they have made every effort to discover any underlying copyrights.

Gerard - can you please clarify the question: are we talking about an institution that doesn't know how to host the images themself, or are we talking about an institution that would be working with Flickr:Commons if we don't "catch them" first?

[[witty lama]]

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