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the art collectors » National Portrait Gallery Claims Copyright Violation Against Wikipedia User

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

National Portrait Gallery Claims Copyright Violation Against Wikipedia User

A 1544 portrait of Mary I housed on Wikipedia and credited to the National Portrait Gallery.

The Independent reports that The National Portrait Gallery of London is taking action against a Wikipedia user for violating copyright laws. In question are some 3000+ images owned by the state-funded gallery that were uploaded to Wikipedia by Derrick Coetzee, a Seattle based PhD student.  Several issues complicate matters. First, the centuries old portraits in question are long out of copyright and within the public domain, while the Portrait Gallery claims they retain the rights to the reproduced images of them and are entitled to licensing fees. Second, with Coetzee in the U.S. and the NPG in England, there is dispute concerning jurisdiction and conflicting international copyright laws. As if all this wasn’t enoug, the gallery argues that Wikipedia’s servers are housed in the UK and therefor fall under their nation’s jurisdiction. Yet, upon investigation of  its own Wiki entry, we report that the non-profit parent Wikimedia Foundation is located in California, organized under Florida law where it was initially based, and holds servers across three nations – 300 in Florida, 26 in Amsterdam, and another 23 in South Korea. None, according to the company, are in the UK.

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Europe, Legal, London, Uncategorized

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