Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#GLAM - About recognition

 Left Hand Bear, Oglala chief
This years #Commons picture of the year contest was different from last years. The many old images that were so lovingly restored and featured the Commons main page were not there any more.

A thread on the mailing list reminded me about all the hard work that gives images of the past a new lease of life. The image of Left Hand Bear, the Oglala chief is used a lot. As you can see below it is even used to make ties, mugs and buttons.

The image of Left Hand Bear has been lovingly restored by Adam Cuerden. The original of this image is at the Library of Congress and I owe a debt of gratitude to both Adam and the LoC.

Adam restored an image preserved at the Library of Congress. Knowing this, I am sure that this is indeed an image of Left Hand Bear. The image is obviously in the public domain and as such I am not required to acknowledge either the LoC or Adam. I may put the image on mugs, ties and buttons and sell them.

For both Commons and Wikipedia, acknowledging the LoC and Adam bring important benefits. Acknowledging the LoC provides provenance of the image, this is the equivalent of providing a source to a fact. Acknowledging Adam links the much improved image to the original. It recognises Adam for his work.

Acknowledging the LoC and Adam IS a best practice. It is a best practice promoted by organisations like Europeana. It is a best practice that is not a requirement, it is however something that we should aspire to.


Adam C. said...

Your post is very kind, but there are a couple issues. I by no means want this imae to be restricted in use - I want it used as widely as possible. This means peopl need to know it is ree to use.

We can certanly agree that the ease of gaining rights unde UK copyright law is bad, but it exists. While t exists, I'd rather use it to claim a copyright on my restorations - then release all rights but the acknowledgement and CC-by license that lets people know it is free and how to find it - than to try to fake arease into the Public Domain (it's impossible to do atrue release into PD impossible under UK law!) and thus not request rom thoe bound by UK and similar laws to note the free culture status of the image.

Gerard Meijssen said...

Claiming rights that will not be granted on WMF projects does not get you anywhere. My approach benefits anyone involved never mind what copyright obscurities apply.

Peter Weis said...

I'm rather confused by your comment on restored pictures "not being there any more". If you look at the gallery of featured pictures of 2011, you'll notice that more than 2 dozen restorations have reached featured picture status and were hence part of the POTY contest: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Picture_of_the_Year/2011/Galleries/ALL

Adam C. said...

The WMF committing copyfraud does not get free content anywhere. The simple fact is that an extensive restortion contains substantal creative input, to the point that it's likely it could be copyrighted in many more jurisdictions than mere sweat-of-the-brow ones.

Further, Peter, when me and Durova were active, two dozen restorations was what Commons were getting in a month, if not less.