New acquisitions at the National Gallery

April 25 2018

Image of New acquisitions at the National Gallery

Picture: National Gallery

The National Gallery in London has acquired two new pictures, a still-life by Juan de Zurburan (the first work by him in their collection) and an early outdoors scene, 'Wineglasses', by John Singer Sargent. The Sargent was allocated to the Gallery under the UK government's Acceptance in Lieu scheme, and so represents a wholly taxpayer funded acquisition. Here's the NG press release. 

My enthusiasm for bringing this news to you (and showing only the small thumbnail image above) is because of the ridiculous terms and conditions the Gallery asks people like me to sign up to, before downloading higher resolution image from the NG press site. A sample of these terms are:

The Board of Trustees of the National Gallery or the Lender owns the copyright in all Images. Reproduction of any kind (analogue or digital) is strictly forbidden except by the User in connection with the exhibition specified by the National Gallery Press Office.

If, like most legal opinion in this area, you believe that there is in fact no copyright in faithful reproductions of out of copyright artworks, then the National Gallery here is engaged in copyfraud.

Two more clauses:

The User acknowledges that digital images are the subject of copyright protection and hereby assigns to the National Gallery any copyright and similar rights throughout the world created by or for the User in the Images for the full term of such copyright and similar rights including extensions and renewals.

Duplication, storage or transmission in any form (analogue or digital) of any Image is strictly forbidden unless by separate written permission except where such is incidentally and wholly necessary to the reproduction process. At the conclusion of such reproduction all intermediate copies of the Image must be destroyed.

I don't agree to any of this, obviously.

And, most odiously of all:

14. Indemnification

The User agrees to indemnify the Image copyright holder (see 7) in respect of any claims or damages or any loss or costs arising in any manner from the reproduction of Images unless granted under the terms of these Terms and Conditions.

What a waste of everyone's time and money - all to protect the National Gallery's non-existent income from selling image licences. 

I'm reproducing the above photo anyway, because it was sent to me in an email from the National Gallery, soliciting me to publish it. 

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