...Before, if you wanted to get a picture of the Wright Brothers' plane, you could go to the Smithsonian Images Web site and pay for a print or high-resolution image after clicking through several warnings about copyrights and other restrictions -- and only if you were a student, teacher or someone pledging not to use it to make money.
Now, you can just go to the free photo-sharing Web site flickr.com.
A nonprofit group is challenging the copyrights and restrictions on images being sold by the Smithsonian. But instead of going to court, the group downloaded all 6,288 photos online and posted them Wednesday night on the free Internet site.
"I don't care if they sell the photos, but then once they sell it, they can't say you can't reuse this photo," said Carl Malamud, co-founder of the group Public.Resource.Org, advocates for posting more government information online.
"You're not allowed to chill debate by telling people they can't use something because it's under copyright when that's not true."
Most images the Smithsonian is selling, including photos of artifacts and historic figures, are not protected by copyright, Malamud said. But the Smithsonian site carries copyright notices and other warnings that would discourage most people from using historic images that should be publicly available, he said....
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Public access group challenges Smithsonian over copyrights