On Wed, 22 Dec 2004 13:12:33 -0000, apw(a)ap-woolrich.co.uk
Check out 'Reproduction Fees' on Wikipedia.
Its possible for an out
of copyright image to attract a reproduction fee from the library
holding it and providing the image. These fees can be very high and
even prohibit the publication of limited-run publications since the
finances do not add up.
Indeed they can and do. The fact is that the owner of an original
image is under no obligation to let you copy that original, and is
free to charge fees and make you sign a contract before they give you
that original to copy.
However, those fees and contracts are not binding on anyone else under
present US law, unless they are themselves placed under contract
before being given a copy.
E.g. a book publisher might pay some art gallery a lot of money to
copy their old paintings for publication. That does NOT prevent J.
Random Wikipedia Editor from buying or lending that book, scanning the
individual images of those paintings, and placing them on Wikipedia as
public domain. (The text and the arrangement and layout ARE
The laws of other countries probably differ on this matter, since it's
not one regulated by the Berne Convention or whatever.