Thursday, December 13, 2007

False Copyright Claims

Interesting piece from Boing Boing. False copyright claims are a lucrative business for sleazoids - Boing Boing

Think about this the next time you buy a print or a coffee mug at a museum gift shop. No one, anywhere owns the copyright to a Da Vinci or Rembrandt. The question is whether taking that public domain piece of art and placing it on a coffee mug, sweatshirt, or note pad creates a new work. Even if it does, the public domain parts of the new work (i.e., the original painting, which is the true value of the chotchky) can be taken and re-used at will. It's in the public domain, so you already own it.

Also, remember that works by Picasso, Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollack and many other artists still remain under copyright. So don't go into business selling Edward Hopper Nighthawks-brand baby wipes and say I told you to do it.

For good measure, I give you this picture by Hieronymous Bosch, who has been dead for almost 500 years. Thus, I feel safe that it is in the public domain.

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