[Clipart] Karen's Whimsey

Schrijver eric at authoritism.net
Tue Mar 24 03:04:26 PDT 2009

I noticed this too, a while ago.

I think it’s a bit silly that people impose these sort of restrictions  
with quasi-legalities
While they could just state something like, I took a lot of effort,  
please consider a donation if you use them commercially, or something.

With regards to the restrictions, they do hold legally, but only when  
you find the files on her site.
Then she indeed still is the owner.
But since they are faithful reproductions of work which in itself is  
out of copyright, she can assert no other rights than owning them.

So theoretically she could do whatever she wants to limit people’s  
access to the files, even charge them.
But because the files are digital, at the moment they are transferred  
to another computer, Karen does not own them any more— the new owner  
can do whatever he likes with them. Like uploading it to wikipedia,  
OCAL, whatever.

I don’t know how this is in the US, but in the EU she would still have  
her database rights however, meaning that you can’t just go and clone  
the collection.
I personally think that is a pretty smart legal tool: it promotes the  
flow of information while preventing the data harvesting institutions  
fear to happen.

These thinks work exactly the same, legally, with musea, libraries  
etc., and anyone providing access to public domain materials.

Not a lot of people know about the implications of copyright law here,  
because it is in the interest of for example cultural institutions to  
make people believe that they are in somehow paying the authors by  
paying money to the institutions. But paying for o.o.c. pictures has  
nothing to do with royalties, only with ownership.

In Holland this even goes so far as that instutitions say (c)  
Copyright ThisThat Museum,
while they in fact have no copyright at all.
But they can do that because the English word copyright is not a legal  
term in Dutch (that is: ‘Auteursrecht’, right of the author)

I wish I could link to the stuff I have been reading about this, but  
it is all in Dutch.

Have discussions about this already come up on this mailing list?


Op 24 mrt 2009, om 09:46 heeft Greg Bulmash het volgende geschreven:

> If I understand it correctly, she's saying that she owns the scans she
> made and that you have to respect her ownership of the scans, not the
> art.  If you want to redistribute the art, you have to hunt down the
> sources yourself and do your own scans.
> If I'm not misinformed, she's within her legal rights to impose that
> restriction and it's not incompatible with PD because it relates to  
> the
> scans themselves, not the PD artworks.
> - Greg
> Nicu Buculei wrote:
>> chovynz wrote:
>>> I'd like some thoughts and advice on grabbing some clipart from her
>>> site. Is it one we should avoid? Or is it worthwhile grabbing those
>>> public domain things from her site? Do we want to ask permission for
>>> some of them? I know we don't need to, but is it ethical to ask? I  
>>> don't
>>> know about this one, as it's not clear who would be "in the  
>>> right". Do
>>> we for simplicity's sake just leave her alone? Or do we risk  
>>> getting a
>>> name of "thieves" by taking things, that she legally has no hold  
>>> over
>>> anyway.
>> How about exchanging a few emails with her to make sure she has a
>> correct understanding of PD? She may remove those claims about
>> restrictions or she may change the license.
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