Museum image fees (ctd.)

March 16 2018

Image of Museum image fees (ctd.)

Picture: Delacroix

I can't remember if I mentioned this already, but a few weeks ago we had a meeting with the new Arts Minister, Michael Ellis MP, to discuss museum reproduction fees. It was a good meeting, and we left feeling encouraged. One of the things we asked for was for the Intellectual Property Office to investigate whether museums can actually claim copyright in photos of out-of-copyright artworks (we claim they cannot). We suspected our representations would be too late to have any impact on the DCMS' latest 'digital culture' report. But I'm glad to note that there is (on page 40) mention not only of the IPO getting involved, but also that:

There is a need [for institutions] to maintain a balance between protection and remuneration of rights on the one hand and digital innovation and audience access on the other hand. 

In other words, the government's position is not that things like image fees should be used entirely to maximise revenue, which is what many have previously suggested.

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