Fri, Jun. 24, 2016

Copyright for Photos of Public Domain Artworks

CK - Washington.   A Wikipedia user uploaded to Wikimedia Commons digital scans of photographs of artworks in the public domain. The owner of the works, a museum which employed a photographer who took the analog photos, sued for breach of co­pyright in the photographs. On May 31, 2016, the Berlin District Court ruled in favor of the museum in the matter Reiss-Engelhorn Museum of the City of Mannheim v. Wikimedia Foundation.

Even if the artwork was in the public domain, the photos constitute copyrightable matter, and the defendant Wikimedia Foundation in San Francisco is enjoined from their display in Germany, to avoid a penalty of 250,000 euros, the court held. The Foundation is reportedly planning an appeal. It published the decision and related information. A German site, irights.info, provides updates in German.


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