Mortlake Terrace
Mortlake Terrace, 1827
Joseph Mallord William Turner
British, 1775 - 1851
National Gallery of Art
Andrew W. Mellon Collection

Copyrights Are Confusing

I began to write a post discussing the new Tate director’s (Maria Balshaw) desire to make the museum more inclusive to everyone and increase attendance. I thought it would be nice to include an image from their collection to show what sort of art we’re talking about here and to provide an opportunity for a wider audience to become familiar with the museum. The old “a picture is worth a thousand words” thing.

No such luck. This featured image is from The National Gallery of Art.

Why? Because at the NGA web site I could browse the collection, find an image I liked, download it, and use it; period.

I can’t do that at the Tate. At least I don’t think so.

Their web site is very confusing. As best I can figure out I need to create an account (just what I need is yet another account with a username and password to keep track of) and give them my name and address, phone number, VAT number (VAT number! Say what?) etc. just so I might be allowed to download a low res image. Not today thank you.

Hopefully part of the new director’s agenda will include an updated media policy designed for the 21st. century and some usability testing for the web site.

Obviously there is a lot of copyright infringement happening in the web. People see an image they like and they copy it without thinking about it.¬†There are always going to be some jerks out there that purposely steal content, but I believe that most people would be willing to honor a creator’s copyright if the rules were well designed, easy to understand, and major players like museums set the example.

I’m certainly not a major player, but with that in mind I’ve updated the copyright page on this site to match the one from my previous photography site. Although I’m no lawyer, I think it does a better job than the old “all rights reserved” bologna that I used to use.

We’ll get to that Tate discussion next time.


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