helenlt on August 23rd, 2013
There’s been a few things in the news this week that have caught my attention. Firstly, the release of Prince George of Cambridge’s first official royal baby photograph, taken by his grandfather, Michael Middleton. Now for those of you wondering why royal baby news has made it onto a copyright blog, you can thank the Daily Mail. For the Daily Mail editors, dedicated royal watchers, have left no stone unturned in bringing you all the facts about the latest royal baby photographs including details of copyright ownership:
“As the photographer, Michael Middleton is automatically entitled to copyright of the image under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act. But last night it emerged that he has already handed over ownership of the pictures. This means he won’t be entitled to any money when they are printed – and Kate and William will be able to control their use.”
As we’ve often mentioned in previous blog post, copyright in a photo is owned by the photographer, not the subjects of the photo. In this case, Mr. Middleton has transferred copyright to Kate and William allowing them to control when and how the photo is used. Usually, when official royal photos are taken by professional photographer, the photographer owns copyright and generally controls how the photos are used. You can find out more about copyright ownership of photographs on our Photographs webpage.
Still on images, The Getty Museum has announced that it has released 4,600 images into the public domain as part of its open content program. This is significant because many cultural institutions claim copyright in reproductions of material from their collections even if the underlying artwork is out of copyright. This then allows the institution to control how images of their collections are used and to raise funds to help support the collection. In copyright law, whether or not copyright exists in a digital reproduction of an artwork is a grey area. The National Portrait Gallery in London had a dispute a few years ago with Wikimedia over whether or not the NPG’s digital images are in copyright. The NPG has since released many of its images under Creative Commons licences and their own academic licence. This is a great initiative of the Getty Museum. The images are in the public domain and can be used for any purpose with a simple attribution to the Getty’s open content program. They even provide an attribution that you can cut and paste when you go to download the image. On the right is an example of one of the images in the open content program. I rather liked the idea of “stamping” my name on my post! UPDATE: On Monday, a colleague emailed me a link to a video that Getty has posted on Youtube to promote their initiative. It’s a rather cool video, so I couldn’t resist adding it to this blog post:
Finally, Robin Thicke the artist behind the catchy song Blurred Lines is taking legal action against claims of copyright infringement. What makes this matter unique is that Robin Thicke is not defending himself against claims but is trying to preemptively avoid possible claims that he has infringed Marvin Gaye’s copyright in Got to Give It Up. You can watch ABC News America’s report in full.
Again what’s significant for us is that the amount of music in dispute is a a very small portion, only a few bars, demonstrating that use of small amounts of copyright material can still be significant and may require permission from the copyright owner.
Inhabited Initial H, about 1170 – 1180, Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
Leaf: 44.3 x 29.1 cm (17 7/16 x 11 7/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig XIV 2, fol. 8v
Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.