Museums and Misleading Copyright

Michael Geist, P2pnet, May 29, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

On one of my recent visits to Ottawa I has a sustained argument with the curators at the National Gallery over their refusal to allow photographs to be taken in the 'Canadian Wing' due - I was told - to copyright concerns. My protestations that th majority of the art in the wing was now in the public domain fell on deaf ears. So much for my intent to create a 'Canadian Art' collection on Flickr. Michael Geist raises the issue of such misleading claims to own copyright in a current column. "Many institutions," he writes, "go much further charging 'surrogate copyright fees' or 'user's fees' for public domain works or deploy technology to limit the potential uses of digitized versions of those works." They claim that their reproductions are copyright protected. yt th Supreme Court states, "For a work to be "original" within the meaning of the Copyright Act, it must be more than a mere copy of another work." I'm sympathetic with the museums' need for more funding. But this funding should come from the government, not from phony 'copyright fees'.
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