[Foundation-l] At least 500 images will have to be deleted from the National Portrait Gallery

Marco Chiesa chiesa.marco at gmail.com
Thu Jul 24 08:05:39 UTC 2008

On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 9:48 AM, Magnus Manske <magnusmanske a googlemail.com>

> On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 12:21 AM, Jimmy Wales <jwales a wikia.com> wrote:
> > Speaking only for myself, not the Board, and speaking only in my
> > traditional capacity, I can say that I very strongly support keeping
> > these images.  Public domain paintings are public domain.  This is not
> > about borderline cases around exact dates.  This is OLD stuff.
> >
> > I call on the National Portrait Gallery to release these images under a
> > free license.  Barring that, I propose that we ignore any illegitimate
> > and unjust false claims to copyright in these things, unless and until
> > they are willing to take us to court.
> >
> > Mike Godwin and the Wikimedia Foundation have the final say, of course,
> > and I respect that.  But I hope we encourage courage in this area.
> Yes! Now if the Foundation could set up a page clarifying the official
> position on this, we could just point to it in the future.
> Magnus
Maybe I'm being naive, but how much such a decision would be UK-specific?
Particularly in the sense that the images are published in the US? Italy has
a similar problem, although we have the complication that the Law assigns a
sort of copyright to the museum, even if the work of art is photographed by
a random visitor. The body governing the museums in Florence sent us a take
down notice from it.wikipedia a few years ago, and probably some images are
still on commons (but cannot be used on it.wp).
Regarding the NPG images, I think the main problem would be that a UK reuser
would infringe the NPG copyright, while she reads that those images are PD;
the NPG may decide that suing Wikipedia is not a great idea, but suing some
British student that puts up his own website may be; transiting through the
US to remove copyright appears to me as a kind of money laundering...


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