There is an interesting post at the British Library manuscripts blog, Images in the public domain.
Just a reminder that images from our Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts are now available under a Public Domain mark. This means that they are available for download and reuse, on condition that certain basic principles are observed: (1) please respect the creators; (2) please credit the source of the material; (3) please share knowledge where possible; (4) please consider the efforts of the British Library in preserving and making such works available, should they be used for commercial or other for-profit purposes.
Now that is extremely interesting. It is also very laudable — well done! That is precisely what should be the case.
This seems to apply only to the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts material, tho. That stuff is, really, not of much interest to me, as I am interested in texts. But it is the sort of material that might have possible commercial value, and this makes the generous gesture all the more laudable. On the link to the “public domain mark” are the following requests for those so using the material:
- Please respect the creators – ensure traditional cultural expressions and all ethical concerns in the use of the material are considered, and any information relating to the creator is clear and accurate. Please note, any adaptations made to an item should not be attributed to the original creator and should not be derogatory to the originating cultures or communities.
- Please credit the source of the material – providing a link back to the image on the British Library’s website will encourage others to explore and use the collections.
- Please share knowledge where possible – please annotate, tag and share derivative works with others as well as the Library wherever possible.
- Support the Public Domain – users of public domain works are asked to support the efforts of the Library to care for, preserve, digitise and make public domain works available. This support could include monetary contributions or work in kind, particularly when the work is being used for commercial or other for-profit purposes.
- Please preserve all public domain marks and notices attached to the works – this will notify other users that the images are free from copyright restrictions and encourage greater use of the collection.
I think that is more than fair. In particular supporting the public domain is precisely what this blog exists to do. Again … well done!
This is the sort of thing that every national collection should be doing. By making images available in a way that promotes reuse and the creation of derivative works, they enrich the culture of today.