[Foundation-l] Considerations for museums and archives

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Mon Mar 30 12:55:18 UTC 2009

A low resolution version is in essence a derivative of the original. It is
the prerogative of a copyright holder to license as he sees fit. The notion
that a copyrighted work includes right to other manifestations of the same
work is flawed. It is like saying that because you have bought a picture in
a magazine that you have bought the poster as well.

A different matter is when something became part of the public domain. It is
completely legal to sell a high resolution version. As it is part of the
public domain, it is legal under most sensible laws to use this high
resolution as you see fit.

The question is a different one, how do we make sure that museums and
archives appreciate that they cannot restrict the use of public domain
works. This is very much their problem. What we can do and should do is
ensure that we are appreciative of the cooperation of archives and museums.
It is for this reason that we should always publish where originals can be
found. When museums and archives sell high resolution copies, we can and
should point to their high resolution page.

What we should not do is enter into contracts that restrict what we do with
material that is in the public domain.

2009/3/30 Klaus Graf <klausgraf at googlemail.com>

> Unfortunately Schindler doesn't take into account the very long
> discussion at de:WP:UF
> http://tinyurl.com/fdld4
> There is a very dangerous opinion that "work" according free licenses
> means "work in any resolution" and thus low-resolution pictures
> licensed under a free license could be replaced by high-resolution
> pictures.
> If there is no trust for cooperating institutions that the resolution
> part of the contract is accepted I am in doubt that cooperations will
> work in the future. A word from the WMF board or the lawyers
> (WMF/CC/FSF) would be useful.
> Klaus Graf
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