Last month, the Public Domain Review announced its “Class of 2017” — their top picks of artists whose works have now entered the public domain as of January 1, 2017. Among the newly free artists: André Breton, László Moholy-Nagy, Gertrude Stein, Alfred Stieglitz, Buster Keaton, and Mina Loy.
Archive for the ‘Copyright & Intellectual Property’ Category
On January 1, the Freer and Sackler Galleries released their complete digitized collection online. More than 40,000 works from the Smithsonian’s Asian and American art museums are now available, with more than 90 percent of the images available in high resolution and without copyright restrictions for noncommercial use. The Freer and Sackler Galleries are the first of the Smithsonian Museums to release their entire collection online. The project required 6,000 staff hours in the past year, 10 terabytes of data, and 50,000 images. Rapid Capture Pilot Project was utilized to quickly digitize the enormous collection of objects.
The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery contain some of the most important holdings of Asian art in the world. They also house Whistler’s Peacock Room, numerous Whistler paintings, drawings and prints, as well as works by Whistler’s contemporaries. You can search this amazing collection here.
The National Portrait Gallery in London is now supporting free downloads of images from its collection for academic uses. More than 53,000 low-resolution images and 87,000 high-resolution images are available with through a Creative Commons license.
More information on the NPG’s Academic license is available here.
Wikipedia will black out its English-version site today in protest of two anti-piracy bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the ProtectIP Act (PIPA), now under review in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate respectively. SOPA and PIPA are directed at websites involved in copyright infringement but they also include anti-circumvention provisions that will allow the government to target sites provide information that could assist users’ trying to circumvent these bills’ censorship mechanisms. Trevor Timm, writing for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argues that this provision “would not only amount to an unconstitutional prior restraint against protected speech, but would severely damage online innovation. And contrary to claims by SOPA’s supporters, this provision—at least what’s been proposed so far—applies to all websites, even those in the U.S.”
In addition to Wikipedia, Google, Yahoo and Facebook have expressed their opposition to SOPA and PIPA. In contrast, organizations and companies such as the Museum Picture Association of America (MPAA) to Pfizer Inc. and Harley-Davidson Motor Company defend the bills as a much needed attempt to control rogue websites trafficking in everything from stolen movies to prescription drugs.
To read more:
Wikipedia’s Press Release and their administrative statement — “SOPA initiative/Action”
H.R. 3261 – Stop Online Piracy Act
S. 968 – Protect IP Act
PCWorld, “SOPA and PIPA: Just the Facts”
Trevor Timm (Electronic Frontier Foundation), “How PIPA and SOPA Violate White House Principles Supporting Free Speech and Innovation”
The Visual Resources Association (VRA) has released a statement on “The Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research, and Study.” The statement focuses on 6 types of image uses regularly confronting academic users: preservation and transferring images to new formats for preservation purposes; use of image for teaching purposes (be it face-to-face teaching or non-synchronous teaching); use of images in course websites or other online study materials; adaptions of images for teaching and classroom work by students; sharing images among education and cultural institutions to facilitate teaching and study; and reproduction of images in theses and dissertations. The statement aims to address uncertainties and misconceptions surrounding the fair use doctrine as it relates to new technologies and media, the sometime overly conservative and restrictive policies of campus legal gatekeepers, and copyright litigation in non-academic contexts.
On October 4th, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Golan v. Holder case — a case challenging the 1994 Uruguay Round Agreements Act. This act significantly limited the public domain when it restored the copyrights in the United States of many foreign works that previously had been freely available. Major works such as Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ and Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ lost their public-domain status as a result of this act. In a New York Times editorial, Peter Decherney, professor of film studies at the University of Pennsylvania, argues that the U.S. Congress went too far in 1994 and that the effects of this act on artists, filmmakers and students has been very damaging. To read the complete editorial, click here.
For more on Golan v. Holder, listen to Professor Edward Lee (IIT Chicago, Kent College of Law) on the Oyez Project or read these articles and discussions in the Chronicle of Higher Education, October 5, 2011 and May 29, 2011.
Keith Aoki, the Professor of Law from UCD’s King Hall who was known for his ability to turn “his artistic talents into a powerful tool for battling overzealous copyright laws,” died this past April at the age of 55. Professor Aoki earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in fine art and drew underground cartoons in New York City before enrolling at Harvard Law School. After graduating, Mr. Aoki practiced law, focusing on technology law, for 2 years in Boston before moving on to a teaching career at the University of Oregon and UC Davis. Mr. Aoki was a strident and creative defender of digital freedom. He is known for his briefs defending the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation and Bound by Law? Tales From the Public Domain (Duke U. Press, 2006), a cartoon he wrote and illustrated about a documentary filmmaker confronting copyright restrictions as she attempts to make a film.
The UCD School of Law is conducting a memorial for Aoki — “Remembering Keith Aoki” — on May 26 at 3:00 pm in King Hall. Additional tributes on Professor Aoki: the School of Law at UC Davis, The Public Domain and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Taking a sharply different view of Copyright and Fair Use from Falzone and Ahrens (see previous post) is Veronique Wiesinger in her just published editorial in ARTINFO titled “Copyright Protection Is Not an Artistic Hurdle But a Legal Right.” Wiesinger is the Giacometti Foundation director who recently rejected John Baldessari’s request to duplicate a Giacometti sculpture for one of his installations. Baldesarri went ahead with his installation as planned and the Foundation is now taking him to court for violating the their request. Wiesinger argues that “intellectual property law is largely ignored by the art world” today and that Fair Use is “brandished in order to make money in the name of culture and education. Go here to read Wiesinger’s complete Op-ed.