I think we are fairly safe hosting the images of the original fragments,
even by Israeli law. Israel does not recognize "sweat of the brow" and
requires a minimal degree of originality to claim copyright.
The Israeli Supreme Court did declare that a transcription of the Dead
Sea Scrolls was copyrightable, but mostly because a large percentage of
the source material was lost or damaged and required educated guesswork
to fill in the gaps. If we were doing our own guesswork based on
photographs of the fragments, I think it would be reasonable to say that
we are the sole copyright holders of such a transcription.
1. Tempska, Urzula (2002). "'Originality' After the Dead Sea Scrolls
Decision: Implications for the American Law of Copyright". /Marquette
Intellectual Property Law Review/ *6* (1): 132.
2. Elkin-Koren, Niva (2001). "Of Scientific Claims and Proprietary
Rights: Lessons from the Dead Sea Scrolls", /Houston Law Review/ *38*
(2): 458, 460.
On 10/3/11 6:16 AM, Anthony wrote:
On Mon, Oct 3, 2011 at 4:55 AM, Ray
On 10/01/11 5:36 AM, Anthony wrote:
On Sat, Oct 1, 2011 at 6:44 AM, Elias Gabriel
Amaral da Silva
In practical terms, what they can do? Wikipedia
is hosted in US.
Therefore, for a successful takedown, the museum must sue in US.
Well, for one
thing, they could sue reusers.
WMF using the work is one thing. WMF telling the rest of the world
that the work is public domain and anyone can use it for any purpose
without permission, is another.
The people who really feel offended by the Israel Museum's claim would
do best to accept responsibility for their claims. Given the nature of
the work there is perhaps a little more skill to these scans than was
the case for NPG portraits. I don't know how a court decision would turn
out. I am certainly not confident enough to pursue this myself, nor
would I want to do it for material I don't understand.
Anyone who simply feels that these scans should be freely available can
simply put them up on his own site in whatever country he wants, and
wait for the lawsuit to happen or not happen. There are some areas
where I feel that Wikimedia policies about copyright are wrong, and even
paranoid, but I would be wrong to insist that any WMF project host them
unless I am ready to defend a legal action against a site that I fully
own and control. That's what being responsible is about.
I don't see a
problem with hosting them on projects which allow
non-free material, with a tag at the least saying that The Israel
Museum claims copyright. The museum doesn't seem to mind
copying/distribution "for research or private study". But the list of
projects which allow non-free material doesn't include the most
relevant project - wikisource.
The "free content only" rule is meant to protect third parties, not WMF.
But note here that I'm only talking about the images, not the text.
The photographs do not, and are not meant to, depict the "image" which
was created on the scrolls hundreds of years ago. They are meant to,
and do, depict the scrolls as they existed at the time the photos were
taken. This, I believe, is a major distinction between the NPG
portraits and this one.
The scrolls themselves were created to depict text, not an image, and
there is there seems to be absolutely no dispute at all that the
*text* of the scrolls (to the extent it can be determined) is public
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