I am conducting a project about Monet’s Four Trees and came across a digital version of the painting at Wikipedia. What fascinated me is that they claim the digital image is public domain. This is because it’s “a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art”. The work of art itself is in the public domain because the author died in 1926, over 80 years ago.

This means that in most countries it should be public domain, although of course in the UK it’s a bit more complicated since the definition of creative input for photography has always been defined at a very low threshold although it does not include photocopiers (or scanners now). However the CJEU in 2009, stated that a photograph of an older public domain work needed to be an act of “intellectual creation” before it could create a new copyright and that is the current state of UK law; let’s see how long it takes to roll this back, although photographers are  not as powerful as music and film publishers.

Featured Image: cropped & resized from a PD image posted on wikipedia

Dave Economics, Images , ,

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