Open Access Week 2015

This week is Open Access Week, an annual opportunity to highlight the benefits of sharing scholarly research and resources online.

Kevin Smith, director of the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communications at Duke University Libraries, will speak in the Morris Library Reading Room at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, October 21. His lecture, “The Meaning of Publication in the Digital Age, or What Open Access Can Do for You,” is part of UD’s celebration of Open Access Week.

You can read more about it in UDaily.

Getty Images for Free

Getty Images logoAfter 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.

You can read more about this important change from Getty Images in places like Bloomberg Businessweek and CNET.

LACMA’s New Collections Website

Iranian (Safavid), Ardabil Carpet (detail), 1539-1540, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Iranian (Safavid), Ardabil Carpet (detail), 1539-1540 (Photo © Los Angeles County Museum of Art,

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.

Copyright Lecture by Kenneth Crews

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.

NGA Images

Johannes Vermeer, Girl with the Red Hat, Dutch, 1632 - 1675, c. 1665/1666, oil on panel, Andrew W. Mellon Collection

Johannes Vermeer, Girl with the Red Hat, ca. 1665-1666 (photo: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington)

BIG NEWS! The National Gallery of Art in Washington has just launched the NGA Images website. There you can download any of their images of works in the public domain (which means almost all of their pre-1900 art). You can read the full press release here.

The images that you can download are 1200 pixels on their long dimension, which is perfect for use in Powerpoint or OIV (see an example here). In addition, if you register on the site, you also get access to 2000-pixel and 3000-pixel images, which are suitable for scholarly publications. And it’s all free of charge!

But what makes this site truly remarkable is that you’re also free to use any of the images you download for any purpose you want, without even having to seek the museum’s permission. It’s all part of the National Gallery of Art’s Open Access policy. This follows the recent news that Yale University and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art would similarly open their image collections for unrestricted public use. The stature of the National Gallery of Art’s collection makes this an even bigger announcement . . . and another important milestone on the road towards greater public access to online image collections.

Public Domain Day 2012

Robert Delaunay, Saint-Séverin, 1909

Robert Delaunay (1885-1941), Saint-Séverin, 1909, Minneapolis Institute of Arts (photographed by Derek Churchill)

In addition to being New Year’s Day, January 1st every year is also Public Domain Day, a celebration of artists and authors whose works are entering the “public domain” because the copyright protection of those works has expired.

Technically, no major works will actually enter the public domain in the United States this year (or in any year until 2019), thanks to a series of complicated changes to United States copyright law since 1978. But in many countries, copyright protection ends 70 years after the death of the artist or author. So in those countries at least, works by anyone who died in 1941 would have passed into the public domain on January 1, 2012.

Artists who died in 1941 include a number of important late 19th- and early 20th-century figures, such as Émile Bernard, Maximilien Luce, William McGregor Paxton, John Lavery, El Lissitzky, Alexei Jawlensky, and Robert Delaunay (left).

The VRC’s website has a Copyright page with more information and links to additional resources.

Please note that I am not a copyright lawyer, so my comments here should not be mistaken for legal advice. You should always consult a copyright professional if you have questions about whether or not a particular work is in the public domain.

Yale to Open Its Image Collections

Louis I. Kahn, Yale Center for British Art

Louis I. Kahn, Yale Center for British Art, 1969-1977, New Haven, Connecticut (Photo © Kathleen Cohen/WorldImages)

Yale University has announced its intention to open its digital image collections to all users over the Web. This will provide free access to works in its museums and libraries, which include the Yale University Art Gallery, Yale Center for British Art, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and Lewis Walpole Library. Read the press release here and a story about it here.

This follows a similar announcement by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which I discussed in a post last month on VRC@UD.

LACMA Image Library

Georges de La Tour, Magdalen

Georges de La Tour, The Magdalen with the Smoking Flame, ca. 1638-1640 (Photo © Los Angeles County Museum of Art,

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has just launched its new Image Library, which lets you download free, high-resolution images of works from its permanent collection. Many other museums already do the same thing, but LACMA’s Image Library is different in one significant respect: it explicitly permits you to use its images without restriction. That means you don’t need to seek the museum’s separate permission in order to use these images in publications.

Note that this only applies to works that LACMA has established as being in the public domain, so most 20th-century works are excluded. The VRC’s Copyright page explains why this is.

You can read LACMA’s Terms and Conditions of Use here. Hopefully, this openness is part of a trend towards greater access to images.