The College Art Association has published its Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts. This follows and builds upon CAA’s 2014 publication of Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities: An Issues Report.
The Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Smithsonian Institution’s museums of Asian art, released their entire digitized collections online on January 1, 2015. With the new Open F|S, you can now download high-resolution images of more than 40,000 works in the two museums, and you are permitted to use them for any non-commercial purpose.
The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington are among the nation’s most important collections of Asian art, with a particular strength in the arts of China. In addition, they are home to works from ancient Egypt, the Islamic world, and the United States, including James McNeill Whistler’s famous Peacock Room at the Freer.
You can read the press release about Open F|S here.
A new collection in Flickr assembles millions of images from copyright-free (pre-1923) books that had previously been digitized and placed online. The story of the technology behind this project is maybe even more interesting than the images themselves, as you can read about here.
You can also explore the Internet Archive Book Images photostream in Flickr.
Here are a few recent stories of interest from the museum world:
- The Morgan Library and Museum in New York has digitized its entire collection of Rembrandt etchings. A new online collection of about 500 images lets you explore nearly all of the prints made by Rembrandt during his lifetime. These are not Open Access images, so you cannot do whatever you want with them, but you are permitted to download them for personal, educational, or noncommercial use.
- The late Richard Mellon Scaife, who died earlier this month, has left roughly half of his art collection to the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The rest of his collection will go to the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh). There are few details about the nature of the collection itself, but it is said to consist mainly of American works.
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington has made over 30,000 images of works from its collection available for free download. Over 14,000 of these are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND license that requires attribution and prohibits any commercial use or the making of derivatives. The remaining 17,000 images have no known copyright restrictions, and are available for any use.
Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum, and its collections include art as well as history, natural history, and Maori and Pacific cultures. You can read more about this image initiative on Te Papa’s blog, or begin exploring the Collections Online.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has made more than 400,000 images of public domain works in its collection available for non-commercial use through its new Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) initiative. You may now download images from its website and use them for scholarly purposes–including print and online publication–without having to request permission or pay a fee. The Museum is letting users decide if their own projects qualify as “scholarly” or “non-commercial”; you can find definitions and examples on the Met’s OASC FAQ page. You may also want to consult the fine print in the Terms and Conditions for the Met’s website. Commercial use of these images is not permitted.
This is not the first time the Metropolitan Museum of Art has made its images available for free. You have been able to download large images for personal use since its website was redesigned a few years ago, and its collection has been the cornerstone of Artstor’s Images for Academic Publishing (IAP) since that program’s creation. OASC gives users yet another avenue for accessing and using the Met’s images.
After years of filing lawsuits against those who used their photographs without permission, Getty Images (not to be confused with the the Getty Trust and the J. Paul Getty Museum) has made millions of its stock photos free to anyone who wants to use them for noncommercial purposes.
The one big catch: you have to use their “embed” tool to insert their pictures into your site, which may make them too cumbersome to use. Also note that Getty Images is not making all of its images free–just the rather generic stock photos. So, for example, journalists will still have to pay for the more specific images of current events to illustrate their news stories.
This week the J. Paul Getty Museum joins a growing list of institutions that have decided to remove all restrictions to the use of images of art works in their collections. The Getty’s Open Content Program was announced on Monday, making available an initial group of nearly 4,700 high-resolution digital images of objects from its locations in Los Angeles and Malibu, California. More images, including ones from the Getty Research Institute and the Getty Conservation Institute, will eventually also be added.
You can browse all Open Content images here, or search for particular works on the Getty’s website. A download button will appear under the thumbnail of any images that are part of the Program. You will be asked to provide some very generic information about who you are and what you’ll be using the image for (more specific information is required if you plan to publish it). But aside from that, you are generally free to use the image for any purpose, as long as you simply credit the Getty as the source of the image, as in the caption at left. And all of these images are made available free of charge. You can read more about the Getty’s Open Content Program at the following links:
- Getty’s press release
- Getty President and CEO James Cuno’s article in the Getty’s online magazine, The Iris
- Information about the Open Content Program and FAQ page
- Article on this and other Open Content/Open Access resources in The Atlantic
The J. Paul Getty Museum holds outstanding collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, Medieval manuscripts, European paintings and drawings, decorative arts, and photographs.
Note: Please do not confuse the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Open Content images with Getty Images, a for-profit stock photo company with no connection to the Museum or any other part of the Getty Trust.
Two years ago, I reported that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) had launched its Image Library, which allowed users to download images of works from its collection for any purpose. Now LACMA is expanding this service through its new collections website, which vastly increases the number of images available for download from 2,000 to 20,000. And like before, the Museum places no restrictions on your use of these images, so you are free to do whatever you want with them.
On Wednesday, March 6, there will be a lecture on “Copyright and the Digital Humanities” by Kenneth Crews, director of the Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia University. This event will take place at 5:00 pm in the Morris Library Reading Room. I have seen Dr. Crews speak in the past, and he actually makes copyright law entertaining!
You can read more about this upcoming talk in UDaily.