On 3/30/09, Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijssen@gmail.com> wrote:
The archives and museums I am talking to have content that will be extremely valuable to us. Your suggestion that archives and museums is based on a comparison to someone who did not do any research. Now when we can get something like 40.000 media files and you compare it to an occasional upload you do not take into account that some of these archives have a systematic coverage of events, places or developments. If you think we can do better at finding copyright holders I am sure that we are welcome to do so.

When museums and archives put their material on Flickr, it often gets a creative commons label. As a consequence we may import it into Commons anyway. Working together with archives and museums gains us more then just low res pictures for now. It gets us appreciations and respectability at the same time.

The big difference between Commons and Flickr is that we put the material to use and consequently the material gets a new lease of life. Flickr is essentially a big stamp collection.

2009/3/30 Stan Shebs <stanshebs@earthlink.net>

Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> Hoi.
> I am talking to a few museums and archives and several of them are
> interested in considering Commons for their collection. At the same
> time they are also considering Flickr.
> The issue they have with Commons is its restrictions. One of the
> museums said it like this: "We have done our best to ascertain the
> copyright status of much of our material. We have not been  able to
> find the original copyright holder or someone who inherited these
> rights. When we post our material to Flickr, we just remove the
> material when a copyright holder turns up and asks us to. Doing it in
> any other way requires much more effort. Effort that we rather spend
> in more productive endeavours like digitising and annotating."
Flickr is what they want then. We can hardly insist that random
uploaders must supply copyright holders, licenses, etc, and then make an
exception for an institution just because they say they "tried really
hard". How many times do we see an uploader say "I couldn't find a
copyright holder", then somebody knowledgeable takes 10 seconds to
locate a copy with complete documentation showing that it's very much
non-free. No museum's holdings are worth so much to me that I'm willing
to cast doubts over the legal status of everything else in Commons.


I've been talking to Museums/Archives in Australia along the same lines and have heard similar concerns.
One of the things that those museums did was to all group together and demand that Flickr introduce a new copyright label called "no known copyright" which many of you have probably already seen. This was done because the archives/museums refused to say outright that the images are Public Domain because they are so risk-averse. They are just so afraid of being sued and see that label as a way out.

So, when these museums say "they've made every effort to find a copyright holder" then they have done far more work than we would be able to do with these photos. Stan, I don't think we would be making any exceptions here or casting doubt on the quality of Commons as we already have a system for checking and deleting images if we uncover more info about their copyright status. This wouldn't be new.
Gerard, if all the museums/archives are looking for is re-assurance that we can delete things if someone complains then we CAN give that assurance. So long as they are willing to put the image up with a PD tag then I say GREAT! All they want is someone to confirm for them that we have a way of controlling the system because they need to prove to their management that they are not acting illegally or without care for copyright concerns.

Go for it, I say.
[[witty lama]]

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