Copyright law exists for a purpose: to make creativity pay. Making accurate photographic copies of paintings is no doubt valuable and involves painstaking work. But it isn’t—and isn’t meant to be—creative. With all the digital assaults on the old copyright verities, the champions of intellectual property can’t afford to waste their energies trying to monopolize images that already properly belong to us all.Felten seems to think that the Bridgeman case was correctly decided. Even if he does not, I think so. If faithful reproductions of public-domain artworks turn out to be under-produced as a result of the Bridgeman rule, Congress can create special, short-duration, narrow-in-scope sui-generis protection for such reproductions.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Eric Felten weighs in on the NPG/Wikimedia spat
Eric Felten has an article in the Wall Street Journal about the dispute between the U.K.'s National Portrait Gallery and Wikimedia Commons over high-resolution images of portraits that were uploaded to the latter. Felten concludes