The Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, has placed digital images of its collections online. So far, so familiar. What is extraordinary is that all the images have been made available for reproduction free of charge, in superb high-resolution format, with no restriction over use… Other institutions in the USA are now considering whether to follow. The British Museum is a major institution that had already taken the same step in the UK. Otherwise the outlook in Britain is depressingly outdated, with museums and galleries, as this journal has frequently pointed out, obstructing not only scholarship but also wider familitarity with their collections throught the imposition of restrictive conditions on use and punitive fees. What makes it worse, much worse, are the outrageous claims to ‘copyright’ that are attached to use of images, preposterously applied to the mechanical reproductions of original works of art long out of copyright. This loathsome practice must stop.
– Robin Simon, The British Art Journal