Susan Rhoads of Elfinspell drew my attention to this discussion on Wikimedia, where images of out of copyright material were deleted in response to a claim that in the UK any photograph is copyright, even a scan of out-of-copyright material. The claim is being made by a certain John van Whye, from http://darwin-online.org.uk/, as a reason why stuff from his website should be removed.
There is no indication, as far as I could see, of law or case law to back up these claims. As far as I know they have never been tested in court. But then no-one in the UK can afford to defend themselves in court.
It is understandable that van Whye wants to protect his website so he can exploit it commercially — although not all that understandable, since he didn’t pay for it himself. But this is an evil day, if the already absurdly over-oppressive UK copyright law has managed to be extended yet further.
It all sounds like special pleading to me.