Should there be copyright in NPG’s photos?

There’s a pretty good chance that there is copyright in the National Portrait Gallery’s photographs of paintings, which are currently the subject of a legal spat between NPG and a volunteer for the The Wikimedia Foundation. Intuitively, that seems like a bad thing — but is it? And if so, what does it mean for the future of digitisation? Others have done a much better job of explaining the legal situation than I could, so I won’t talk about that. I’m more interested in the policy position that we should be adopting than the one we’ve found ourselves in. Intuitively, I feel that there shouldn’t be copyright in the images that Wikimedia are using. That their importance trumps NPG’s desire to exploit them commercially: these paintings are an important and unique part of our culture’s history. This isn’t just academic: it has real impact. All that said, a policy position ...(Read More)