[Clipart] 3000+ SVG files available

Andrew Archibald andrew.archibald at sympatico.ca
Tue Mar 15 20:37:00 PST 2005

Jon Phillips wrote:

> I started a list here:
> http://openclipart.org/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?SimilarProjects
> But, I know there are so many more. I also think it would be possible to
> find those cdroms like 30,000 clip art or whatever and if they say they
> are public domain, its free for the taking.
> Really, I think the best procedure would be to develop some form of
> script or spider that seeks out public domain clip art. It might even be
> useful to develop a specific script so that once you find a site that
> has PD, to do a harvest of the whole site and directly import it to OCAL
> -- of course, trying to follow good netiquette ;)
> Jon

You do have to be a bit careful about this!  There are a few ways OCAL could 
get badly burned by this (worst-case: "tainting" the whole archive, so nobody 
can trust any of it to be PD).

* You can't copyright PD material, but you can copyright material based on PD 
material.  The test is whether you have added "expressive content", but the bar 
is traditionally set very low (a preface to a Shakespeare play, minor spelling 
corrections, and so on).  In our case, the addition of metadata might be enough 
for a site to claim copyright.
* You can't copyright unmodified PD material, but you can copyright a 
collection of individually uncopyrighted works - notionally what you are 
copyrighting is the expressive content involved in selecting and organizing the 
content (the phone book is a classic example).  So if we import a clipart 
collection entire and unchanged, we're probably violating copyright.
* PD content may nevertheless not be safe (or appropriate) to include in OCAL. 
  Security issues (trojan anyone? how about a virus?), offensiveness issues 
(talk about censorship aside, do we really want a vectorized goatse?), 
trademark issues (hey look at this neat picture of the Apple logo I just drew!)...
* Many sites may mix PD and "do what you like" content - even a license that 
places no restrictions on the user whatsoever is not the same as public domain. 
   And sites may mix in "royalty-free" content willy-nilly.

Unless content has been explicity flagged as public domain, preferably by the 
author, I don't think it's safe to include in OCAL.  The only reliably 
machine-readable indicator of PD content I can think of is the Creative Commons 


More information about the clipart mailing list