NPG Round-Up

People are blogging legal analyses of the NPG situation and they broadly agree with my understanding that the law in England is a mess that can be clarified by Bridgeman vs. Corel. 😉

Technollama –

http://www.technollama.co.uk/national-portrait-gallery-copyright-row

Lawclanger –

http://lawclanger.blogspot.com/2009/07/its-not-often-that-copyright-cases-get.html

Art Law Blog –

http://theartlawblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/bridgeman-two.html

It’s important to note that the database right claim and the unauthorised access claim are apparently as flimsy as the copyright claim, and that Bridgeman vs. Corel is relevant.

And here’s an anecdotal but damning opinion on the NPG’s behaviour as a licensor from someone who claims to be in the publishing industry –

http://blog.wikimedia.org/2009/07/16/protecting-the-public-domain-and-sharing-our-cultural-heritage/#comment-1416

(Thanks to Glyn Moody and David Gerard for many of the links.)

Posted in Free Culture
2 comments on “NPG Round-Up
  1. David Webb says:

    In the interest of fairness, you really should have posted that its generally the bloggers that agree with you, or those connected somehow to wikipedia so have an interest in siding with the wikipedia.
    London Evening Standard images are copyright
    The Register simple case of copyright theft
    About.com very angry at the WMF over the theft.
    Anyone can post a blog with “everyone agrees with me!” and then post links to blogs that agree with you, simple fact is, not everyone agrees with you, museums in the US totally ignore the Bridgeman ruling and *still* apply copyright to PD images and quite a lot of people believe the WMF is being underhanded, ignoring British law and taking away peoples ability to view these images.
    None of the links I posted have a vested interest for either the WMF or the NPG, can you say the same about all your links?

  2. Those familiar with Wikipedia and blogging are likely to be a little more familiar with the nature of information and the fundamental conflict between the diffusive nature of the Internet* and the constraint against diffusion attempted by the anachronistic privilege of copyright.
    Traditional publishers having built an empire upon the printing press and its iniquitous reproduction monopoly aren’t likely to relinquish that privilege in a hurry, a privilege many have come to believe is a fundamental right of all old school newspapers, journalists, photographers, etc. Even in their online manifestations…
    The press is on the way out, in more ways than one, along with its unnatural monopoly. The only mystery is why it’s so difficult for intelligent people to recognise this as perfectly natural rather than a descent into social delinquency and widespread disrespect for ‘fundamental rights’.
    Don’t worry, readers will still pay writers to write, but the now ineffective reproduction monopoly that pretends to constrain the distribution of those published writings will soon be abolished. There is simply no sanction to enable publishers to persecute the public, nor has there ever been.
    The NPG’s persecution of Derrick Coetzee is simply the most astounding, extreme, and abominable case to date. A public organisation with considerable resources suing an individual of modest means for doing no more than selflessly helping the public more easily access published images of public works. The members of the committee who lacked the courage to prevent their fellows from unleashing their attack lawyers on this fundamentally innocent member of the public are just as culpable for this vindictiveness as their spiteful fellows who proposed it as proportionate. The NPG has become corrupted by mercenaries and has long since departed from its philanthropic mission. The trustees should all resign, making way for some youngsters who’ve got a clue about the digital domain and can recognise the individual’s inalienable liberty to share and build upon published works.
    * Especially including all the people who would use it to share and build upon mankind’s cultural heritage: art and knowledge.