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Monday, January 01, 2007

One of my Bayeux Tapestry pictures made it to the Wikimedia Commons. The copyright information reads:

"The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain worldwide due to the date of death of its author (if it is was published outside of the U.S. and the author has been dead for over 70 years), or due to its date of publication (if it was first made public in the U.S. before 1923). Therefore this photographical reproduction is also in the public domain, at least in the United States (see Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.), in Germany, and in many other countries."

This reminds me of a conversation about museum copyright which I thought I blogged but which I appear not to have:

Someone: "t has just occured to me that museums have no right at all to restrict non-flash photography or impose other funny restrictions (eg no commercial use), since copyright expires 70 years after the death of the author. Even more reason to spite the incorrigible ones which try to increase postcard sales by restricting visitors' rights."

not entirely true
though i agree with your stand and support it

Me: so please clarify the legal fine points

Someone: well... you see most museums have photographed archives of their works

they argue that their photograph of the non-copyrighted work has copyright
thus by taking a photo, you might infringe their copyright
so they don't allow you to

cool eh

Me: wth

the photo you take is a new work
ridiculous lah

you're not taking a photo of their photo
tell them to go and die

Someone: hahaha
but it has been upheld in the US
and some in the uk argue that tt's the stand in the uk as well

and thus, one might as it's the same in Sg and other unenlightened common law countries
which doesn't bring us to italy
but i suppose their copyright code would be crouched in similar terms, and in fact they offer greater protection normally

Me: aiyah
US sucks
mickey mouse protection act

well in UK copyright expires after 50 years
so george harrison is kao pehing haha
I give them more leeway since they're not so bastard

eh how sound is the stupid principle of the photograph
it's total rubbish
your photograph is not related to theirs

maybe it's under conditions of admittance to the museum

Someone: lol
tt's one way they enforce it
via contract

but since you argue copyright
i give you the copyright argument

Me: yes
I'm going to draw up a "scummy ways museums can earn more money"

anyway the artefacts belong to all humanity
not just to the scum

Someone: hahaha
i agree
i agree with you

in fact, it's a way to create perpetual copyright
if the theory is upheld
but but

u must understand that photography and photographs sit uneasy with copyright, esp in common law jurisdictions
ie. history etc etc

too much for me to type out

Me: I prob won't understand also

if you can write about something why can't you take a photo of it

Someone: actually hor

u see...
what's the dif between a photo and a photocopy
tt's the crux

Me: it's like intellectual property lah
except intellectual property - copyright expires
but the photos - code of hammurabi made so many thousands of years ago

Someone: o0oo0oo
there was a copyright case over the dead sea scrolls

Me: photo and photocopy... photocopy - you're taking the essence of something
and it's an idea for a text
for a photo the image is not the essential property of the thing


Someone: hahaha
in the israeli courts

rocks your world eh

Me: (this is why law is stupid)

Someone: say for eg
what's the material dif in outcome between u photocopying the musemum's photo of the mona lisa
and you deliberately or even accidentally taking a photo identical to the one the museum has

just because it's a new work isn't a defence for infringement of copyright
tt's their argument...

obviously i feel it's got holes and against the fundamental raison d'tre of copyright

Me: it's a cock argument

so if I go and sketch the mona lisa and someone else has a copyrighted sketch of the mona lisa and they happen to be the same... am I liable?

you can never take an identical photo
the museums have them in special poses, lighting conditions, film...

it's just a fudge lah
museum lobbying

Someone: depends

or the court's own intiative considering tt museums are often non profit

Me: I understand US copyright is meant to benefit the public after a while
but in other jurisdictions is copyright also meant for the public good? or private only

Someone: wah... tt's another 1-2 hour chit chat wor

first copyright code was in the uk

anyway it's just food for thought lah
just to let you know... hahaa... it's a crazy world out there

Me: yeah the misery of the human condition

Someone: yeah

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