Monday, May 25, 2015

BPN 1707: Publishing pics online more difficult for archives

In the Netherlands it will be more difficult to publish photographic collections on internet. A ruling from the Amsterdam court judged that copyright from an individual photographer is more important than digital access to collections. The ruling will make it more difficult for memory institutes to publish photographs online.

A Dutch photographer had started a court case against the  International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. Without permission the institute put 221 photographs of the photographer publically online as a digital catalog, though small and in low resolution with name and source. The institute is digitising its collection and has already put 70.000 photographs of its archives online. The photographer claimed 50.000 euro.

According to the ruling memory institutes need to get explicit permission from the copyright holder before putting pictures publically online. They can make use collective agreements with copyright organisation Pictoright. But the court put aside the financial claim as disproportional as only 7 photographs had been viewed 49 times.

With the ruling the court confirms that memory institutions have the right to digitise photographs in their collection and can make them viewable also to visitors internally, meaning on their own premises. Making them publically available online is not allowed, unless with permission.

The court case will be a handicap for memory institutions. But on the other hand the institutions do not have to fear extravagant claims. (The claim reminds of the copyright claims of three Dutch freelancers who in 1997 claimed 300 percent on top of their fee for a newspaper republishing their articles on CD-ROM and online).

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