Ubiquitous cameras and copyright. Again.
21 September 2010 4 Comments
A brief article from the New York Times, When it’s illegal to photograph artwork, suggests it’s illegal to photograph any other artwork under any circumstances unless the work is in the public domain. The impetus for the article was the writer’s own thought that a cheap way to obtain artwork for your home would be to blow up and frame a photo you took yourself at a gallery. Which my wife pointed out — I was very proud of her when she said this — isn’t at all the same thing as actually hanging a work of art on your wall.
My apologies to Karen Krull Robarts. And as a sidenote Karen, I think I dreamt about owning one of your works last night. Some day I will make it a reality!
The comments on the Times article are what makes this all worth posting on. I’m going to relay a few of them here and let the rest be hashed out in the comments, if you feel as though there’s anything to hash.
- You should research architecture copyright. Can you legally take a photo of a building, even with someone standing in front as a tourist?
- Yet another discussion of copyright issues that totally ignores the legal concept of Fair Use. [sigh]
- Contrary to the wishes of many rights holders, all unauthorized copying of copyrighted works is not infringement. Fair use is a public right vis a vis all works. Taking a photo of a work for personal or academic use would likely be found to be a fair use. Similar to sending a xerox of a newspaper article to a daughter.
- And all those young artists with sketchpads sitting in museums whom we have seen over the years?
- Think of the large, flat-screen televisions hanging on millions of living-room walls. Most of the time the TV is dark, like a missing tooth. Now imagine that the TV is connected to a web site that has thousands of high-quality art images available to be viewed. What a wonderful experience it would be to have those images available, perhaps through a monthly subscription. If Google can scan millions of books, it surely could scan at most a hundred thousand key works of art. The museums that own the art would receive a recurring payment stream.