[Foundation-l] Public domain Mickey Mouse. At last.

Dominic McDevitt-Parks mcdevitd at gmail.com
Mon Oct 24 16:57:06 UTC 2011

Hi all,

Since it hasn't really been mentioned, I just wanted to point out that this
image, never before available to the public in high resolution, was uploaded
to Commons as a result of our ongoing cooperative efforts with the US
National Archives (i.e., my residency). Its copyright status was listed as
unrestricted in the National Archives' online catalog, where the scaled-down
image has been displayed for several years without (apparently) any
incident. Of course, these copyright statuses can often use a second look,
and I am happy for it to get the extra scrutiny at Commons, especially one
as complex as this. I don't have any extra insight to offer copyright-wise,
and am interested to see the community's decision.

However, I would also like to take the opportunity to talk about the broader
effort here, which I think is more important than one image of Mickey Mouse
from a war poster, as symbolic as that is. Beginning in July, I began an
effort, in collaboration with NARA staff, to quite literally upload the
entire National Archives library of digital content in high resolution. The
National Archives—with billions of pages of records, tens of millions of
photographs, and hundreds of thousands more sound recordings, videos, and
artifacts—has hundreds of thousands of digital images in their catalog,
nearly all of which is in the public domain. The 60,000 uploaded so far[1]
include thousands more posters like the Mickey one from the WWII and WWI
era; historically significant photography from Mathew Brady, Dorothea Lange,
Ansel Adams, and other notable photographers; photos of Native Americans, of
the Depression, of the national parks and the environment, of the Civil
Rights Movement, of presidents and their activities, and of every US war
from the Civil War to Vietnam, including incredible manufacturing and
Japanese internment scenes from the home front in WWII; ultra high-res TIFFs
(~150 MB) of the Declaration of Independence and other founding documents;
other textual documents, including historical maps, laws, court records,
census cards, and the letters of diverse personalities, from Susan B.
Anthony to Albert Einstein to Winston Churchill to Elvis Presley; and even
other oddities like an ancient Roman bust, a Remington statue, ancient
Chinese terracotta soldiers, a Diego Rivera painting, bullets and other
evidence from the JFK assassination, a First Lady's evening gown, and a
ceremonial Beninese wooden headdress(!).

This is a huge task, and it requires a community effort to help categorize
images, to use them in Wikipedia articles, to transcribe them on Wikisource,
and just generally show them some love. If finding Mickey Mouse in the
National Archives means anything, hopefully it's that this is a diverse and
significant, and sometimes surprising, collection that deserves more care
and attention—especially since many cultural institutions, domestically and
internationally, are following the project with interest. For more
information, check out the partnerships page on Commons <
and its sister WikiProjects on Wikipedia and Wikisource, linked in the tab


[1] See the upload feed at <

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