Rhea Myers

Wikipedia Against Gallery Copyright Overreach


The standard of originality in the UK needs raising, but the extent of copyright that English galleries and other institutions claim over public domain works exceeds even that. It is harmful to academia and art, and it is morally wrong. We have long needed a Bridgeman vs. Corel in the UK, and hopefully this could be it. The Wikimedia Foundation is popular, organized, and solvent enough to be able to tackle the state and private interests that claim to sit between the public and the public domain.

The Wikimedia Foundation shouldn’t be fobbed off with an offer of a grant or licence of rights, as there should be no rights to grant or licence. If the Foundation fail and this enclosure of the public domain is formalized in English law it will still have been worth trying, and converting overreach into a legal principle at least opens it to reform.

Good luck to the WMF, and a hint to the NPG - you are a national, state institution that exists to serve the public. You are not serving it by claiming to enclose the public domain.