Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Wikipedia painting row escalates" (UPDATED)

That's the BBC News headline on the story mentioned last week here.

The deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation (which runs Wikipedia) says: "It is hard to see a plausible argument that excluding public domain content from a free, non-profit encyclopaedia serves any public interest whatsoever."

But the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies nicely lays out the counterargument: If museums like the National Portrait Gallery can't have their photographs protected, and "anyone [is therefore] able to use them for free, they will cease to invest in the digitisation of works, and everyone will be the poorer."

UPDATE: The Art Market Monitor says it's "a compelling case of self-interest presented as public interest."