brooke on September 20th, 2011
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum and Yale University have decided to make high resolution, digital images of items in their collection available online, for free, for any use without restriction.
That. Is. Brilliant!
Well it has been a regular occurrence lately for museums and art galleries to show digital versions of material in their collections on their website. The downside has been that these institutions have been restricting the access and use of these images. Even images of material that is well out of copyright.
Museums and Archives have a right of access as part of copyright which allows them to ask for a fee for you to access the material. they may then be also able to restrict you from photographing items in their establishments. This has been a key way the museums and galleries make money to house, conserve and bring such collections to the public.
But with new ventures like this one, we may see new access to materials – particularly those that are too rare or too badly damaged to be on show regularly in collections.
Practically, this project means that anyone: a printing company, an author, a school student, whoever, will be able to use these images for commercial and non commercial purposes without the need to seek the permission of the gallery or museum the material is housed in. Leaving the item clearly still in the public domain – even it’s digital version.
Free images. A Copyright Office’s dream 🙂