I have a page on my website the finds of manuscripts at Kellis in the Dakhla Oasis in Egypt, with some photographs of pages of the books, which I found online. Today I had a kind email from Dr Colin Hope of Monash University in Australia. He asked me to remove them, as they were his copyright, and of course I have done so. No blame to him; he was polite about it, and is quite within his rights to ask this. I would respect his wishes anyway, as the leader of the excavations. But this is a first for me, not least since I avoid copyright material like the plague. There was a time online when images routinely wandered all over the web.
I wonder if there is a larger issue which perhaps should be considered. Most scholars are funded out of general taxation. Is it quite proper that the results should be copyright to a particular scholar, or university? Shouldn’t the copyright vest in the public? Does it benefit either the public or scholarship to prevent images of excavation finds being circulated? If so, how; if not, should we allow this to happen?
Perhaps this is another area where the law has yet to catch up with the existence of the internet and the consequent implications.