Re: Photographic Copyright in the EEA

Subject: Re: Photographic Copyright in the EEA
From: Edward Barrow (
Date: pe 28 helmi  1997 - 11:53:28 EET

On 27/2/97, Lars Aronsson wrote:
 I wish to publish on the Internet some paintings by 18th century
 painters. Obviously, the paintings are not covered by copyright. But
 I don't have the resources to visit all the museums and private homes
 where these paintings hang today, to photograph them myself, but would
 have to rely on art books as my source for these images. Also,
 obviously, once I have scanned an image, nobody can tell if I have
 scanned it from a photo of my own or from an art book. If there was
 any visible difference, the maker of the art book would have done a
 poor job. So, can he claim copyright to the images in the art book?

 This question is not limited to Danish law.

Most museums and galleries prohibit photography of the works in their
collection. They take the photographs themselves and sell them - as
postcards and slides in the museum shop, and also to be included in art
books. They own the copyright in the photographs (which in UK law lasts
for 70 years after the death of the photographer). This has two benefits
- it limits the damage that flash photography causes to the originals,
and it gives the museum an additional source of income so that admission
charges can be kept low or avoided. You say you don't have the
resources to visit all the museums to take the photographs, but someone
(probably the museum) did make the effort and invest time, money and
creative decision-making, for example in the lighting so as to avoid
glare, in taking the photographs. What you are proposing to do is
You could also be picking the wrong opponent for a battle. A company
owned by Bill Gates has acquired the digital rights to the works of art
in many major museums... but however dangerous his aim for global
domination, what you are proposing to do is still wrong.

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