Open content: 150,000 works from the museum collections of the city of paris, freely available

Jean Béraud (1849-1936). “Le boulevard des Capucines et le théâtre du Vaudeville”. Huile sur toile, 1889. Paris, musée Carnavalet.
Jean Béraud (1849-1936). “Façade de l’Opéra un soir de gala”. Aquarelle, gouache. Paris, musée Carnavalet.
Victor Dargaud (1850-1921). “Maison de la rue Fortunée”. Huile sur bois, 1899. Paris, maison de Balzac.

From Paris Musées:

From 8 January 2020, Paris Musées is offering as Open Content (i.e. making available without charge and without restrictions) 150,000 digital reproductions in High Definition of works in the City’s museums.

The launch of Open Content will mark a new stage in Paris Musées’ digitisation policy. It will contribute to enhancing and improving the way our collections are made available and will strengthen the measures taken to ensure better public access to art and culture as well as increasing visibility and understanding of the works in our municipal collections.

Making this data available guarantees that our digital files can be freely accessed and reused by anyone or everyone, without any technical, legal or financial restraints, whether for commercial use or not.

Digital files that contain works that belong in the public sphere under a CCØ (Creative Commons Zero) licence will be made available to everyone via the Paris Musées’ Collections portal. At first only reproductions of works in 2D that are not copyright restricted will be available as Open Content, those works that are still in copyright will be in low definition in order to illustrate, on the Internet site, what is available in the collections. Art lovers will now be able to download works by the great names in photography (Atget, Blancard, Marville, Carjat) or in painting (Courbet, Delacroix, Rembrandt, Van Dyck).

. . . .

This policy of free access is part of a programme of development, cultural mediation and opening up of the collections to Internet users. Each user will receive a file that contains an image in HD (300 dpi – 3000 pixels), a document with information about the work and a copy of the Good Practice Charter for images available under CCØ licence which will ask a user to cite the source and offer information about the work.

Although this licence is already used by international museums such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Paris Musées will be the first French institution to take part and make available a considerable number of reproductions.

Paris Musées, as the producer and distributor, will allow everyone to easily, enduringly, freely and instantly use High Definition images to support their research and improve their physical and digital cultural mediation tools. The reproductions of the works in the scheme will also be part of virtual exhibitions which will include cultural mediation to provide users with as much information as possible.

. . . .

How to access the free of copyright reproductions ?

Via the collections portal :

On parismuseescollections.paris.fr, the images of those works that are under CCØ licence can be downloaded either directly from the file that contains the work in question, or via the home page, from a page dedicated to images free of copyright.

Via the API :

The API (Application Programming Interface) is an interface linked to an app. Access to Paris Musées data via the API has added to our Open Content Policy by making it possible to download High Definition copyright free images and also tie these in to information linked to the works.

. . . .

As the producer and distributor Paris Musées will allow anyone, with just one click, to obtain the reproduction of a work from our collections, to print it, draw inspiration from it or even use it as a screensaver.

In response to strong demand from researchers, students and teachers, we are ensuring they can easily, enduringly, freely and instantly use High Definition images to support their research, their teaching and their publications, thereby improving their physical and digital cultural mediation tools.

To showcase the reproductions of the works concerned, Paris Musées will create targeted virtual exhibitions which will bring users a maximum of information while encouraging them to download and reuse the images.

Link to the rest at Paris Musées

Just so everyone is aware of the license attached to these works and granted to the world in general:

CC0

“No Rights Reserved”

CC0

CC0 enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.

In contrast to CC’s licenses that allow copyright holders to choose from a range of permissions while retaining their copyright, CC0 empowers yet another choice altogether – the choice to opt out of copyright and database protection, and the exclusive rights automatically granted to creators – the “no rights reserved” alternative to our licenses.

The Problem

Dedicating works to the public domain is difficult if not impossible for those wanting to contribute their works for public use before applicable copyright or database protection terms expire. Few if any jurisdictions have a process for doing so easily and reliably. Laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction as to what rights are automatically granted and how and when they expire or may be voluntarily relinquished. More challenging yet, many legal systems effectively prohibit any attempt by these owners to surrender rights automatically conferred by law, particularly moral rights, even when the author wishing to do so is well informed and resolute about doing so and contributing their work to the public domain.

A Solution

CC0 helps solve this problem by giving creators a way to waive all their copyright and related rights in their works to the fullest extent allowed by law. CC0 is a universal instrument that is not adapted to the laws of any particular legal jurisdiction, similar to many open source software licenses. And while no tool, not even CC0, can guarantee a complete relinquishment of all copyright and database rights in every jurisdiction, we believe it provides the best and most complete alternative for contributing a work to the public domain given the many complex and diverse copyright and database systems around the world.

Using CC0

Unlike the Public Domain Mark, CC0 should not be used to mark works already free of known copyright and database restrictions and in the public domain throughout the world. However, it can be used to waive copyright and database rights to the extent you may have these rights in your work under the laws of at least one jurisdiction, even if your work is free of restrictions in others. Doing so clarifies the status of your work unambiguously worldwide and facilitates reuse.

You should only apply CC0 to your own work, unless you have the necessary rights to apply CC0 to another person’s work.

Examples

  • Europeana — Europe’s digital library — releases its metadata into the public domain using CC0. This massive dataset consists of descriptive information from a huge trove of digitized cultural and artistic works. By removing all restrictions on the use of the metadata that describes these cultural works, Europeana creates opportunities for developers, designers, and other digital innovators to create applications, games for mobile devices, and websites that visualize and represent the diverse collection of artistic works in Europeana. See Europeana releases 20 million records into the public domain using CC0.
  • figshare allows researchers to publish all of their research outputs in an easily citable, searchable, shareable manner. Figshare has adopted CC0 as the default tool for researchers to share their datasets. In many cases, it can be difficult to ascertain whether a database is subject to copyright law, as many types of data aren’t copyrightable in many jurisdictions. Putting a database or dataset in the public domain under CC0 is a way to remove any legal doubt about whether researchers can use the data in their projects. Hundreds of organizations use CC0 to dedicate their work to the public domain. Although CC0 doesn’t legally require users of the data to cite the source, it does not affect the ethical norms for attribution in scientific and research communities.
  • Open Goldberg Variations: Before the Open Goldberg Variations, public domain recordings of Bach’s Goldberg Variations were hard to find, even though the scores themselves were in the public domain. Open Goldberg Variations wanted to change that, so it teamed up with professional musician Kimiko Ishizaka and started a Kickstarter project to create studio-quality recordings, promising to release them into the public domain using the CC0 public domain dedication tool. According to the project founders, “Musicians are usually not willing to withdraw their copyrights and their control over usage, but we feel that they thus miss opportunities to contribute to the greater good and benefit from wider distribution of their works. If this project succeeds, we hope that the recording will be available to everyone forevermore, and that it will be a truly widely known and enjoyed artistic work.” Sure enough, the project was funded at nearly double its original funding goal, and as a result all 30 variations performed by Kimiko Ishizaka are now available for free download via CC0.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: All public domain images in its collection are shared under CC0, which expanded their digital collection by over 375,000 images as well as provided data on over 420,000 museum objects spanning more than 5,000 years. Through the power of the commons, billions of people are now able to enjoy the beauty of the Met’s collections as well as participate in the continued growth of the commons, utilizing the infrastructure that makes greater collaboration possible.

And, because you should eat your vegetables, get at least 8 hours of sleep every night and read as many copyright licenses as possible, here’s the official legal language governing CC0:

CREATIVE COMMONS CORPORATION IS NOT A LAW FIRM AND DOES NOT PROVIDE LEGAL SERVICES. DISTRIBUTION OF THIS DOCUMENT DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. CREATIVE COMMONS PROVIDES THIS INFORMATION ON AN “AS-IS” BASIS. CREATIVE COMMONS MAKES NO WARRANTIES REGARDING THE USE OF THIS DOCUMENT OR THE INFORMATION OR WORKS PROVIDED HEREUNDER, AND DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM THE USE OF THIS DOCUMENT OR THE INFORMATION OR WORKS PROVIDED HEREUNDER.

Statement of Purpose

The laws of most jurisdictions throughout the world automatically confer exclusive Copyright and Related Rights (defined below) upon the creator and subsequent owner(s) (each and all, an “owner”) of an original work of authorship and/or a database (each, a “Work”).

Certain owners wish to permanently relinquish those rights to a Work for the purpose of contributing to a commons of creative, cultural and scientific works (“Commons”) that the public can reliably and without fear of later claims of infringement build upon, modify, incorporate in other works, reuse and redistribute as freely as possible in any form whatsoever and for any purposes, including without limitation commercial purposes. These owners may contribute to the Commons to promote the ideal of a free culture and the further production of creative, cultural and scientific works, or to gain reputation or greater distribution for their Work in part through the use and efforts of others.

For these and/or other purposes and motivations, and without any expectation of additional consideration or compensation, the person associating CC0 with a Work (the “Affirmer”), to the extent that he or she is an owner of Copyright and Related Rights in the Work, voluntarily elects to apply CC0 to the Work and publicly distribute the Work under its terms, with knowledge of his or her Copyright and Related Rights in the Work and the meaning and intended legal effect of CC0 on those rights.

1. Copyright and Related Rights. A Work made available under CC0 may be protected by copyright and related or neighboring rights (“Copyright and Related Rights”). Copyright and Related Rights include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. the right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform, display, communicate, and translate a Work;
  2. moral rights retained by the original author(s) and/or performer(s);
  3. publicity and privacy rights pertaining to a person’s image or likeness depicted in a Work;
  4. rights protecting against unfair competition in regards to a Work, subject to the limitations in paragraph 4(a), below;
  5. rights protecting the extraction, dissemination, use and reuse of data in a Work;
  6. database rights (such as those arising under Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases, and under any national implementation thereof, including any amended or successor version of such directive); and
  7. other similar, equivalent or corresponding rights throughout the world based on applicable law or treaty, and any national implementations thereof.

2. Waiver. To the greatest extent permitted by, but not in contravention of, applicable law, Affirmer hereby overtly, fully, permanently, irrevocably and unconditionally waives, abandons, and surrenders all of Affirmer’s Copyright and Related Rights and associated claims and causes of action, whether now known or unknown (including existing as well as future claims and causes of action), in the Work (i) in all territories worldwide, (ii) for the maximum duration provided by applicable law or treaty (including future time extensions), (iii) in any current or future medium and for any number of copies, and (iv) for any purpose whatsoever, including without limitation commercial, advertising or promotional purposes (the “Waiver”). Affirmer makes the Waiver for the benefit of each member of the public at large and to the detriment of Affirmer’s heirs and successors, fully intending that such Waiver shall not be subject to revocation, rescission, cancellation, termination, or any other legal or equitable action to disrupt the quiet enjoyment of the Work by the public as contemplated by Affirmer’s express Statement of Purpose.

3. Public License Fallback. Should any part of the Waiver for any reason be judged legally invalid or ineffective under applicable law, then the Waiver shall be preserved to the maximum extent permitted taking into account Affirmer’s express Statement of Purpose. In addition, to the extent the Waiver is so judged Affirmer hereby grants to each affected person a royalty-free, non transferable, non sublicensable, non exclusive, irrevocable and unconditional license to exercise Affirmer’s Copyright and Related Rights in the Work (i) in all territories worldwide, (ii) for the maximum duration provided by applicable law or treaty (including future time extensions), (iii) in any current or future medium and for any number of copies, and (iv) for any purpose whatsoever, including without limitation commercial, advertising or promotional purposes (the “License”). The License shall be deemed effective as of the date CC0 was applied by Affirmer to the Work. Should any part of the License for any reason be judged legally invalid or ineffective under applicable law, such partial invalidity or ineffectiveness shall not invalidate the remainder of the License, and in such case Affirmer hereby affirms that he or she will not (i) exercise any of his or her remaining Copyright and Related Rights in the Work or (ii) assert any associated claims and causes of action with respect to the Work, in either case contrary to Affirmer’s express Statement of Purpose.

4. Limitations and Disclaimers.

  1. No trademark or patent rights held by Affirmer are waived, abandoned, surrendered, licensed or otherwise affected by this document.
  2. Affirmer offers the Work as-is and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the Work, express, implied, statutory or otherwise, including without limitation warranties of title, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non infringement, or the absence of latent or other defects, accuracy, or the present or absence of errors, whether or not discoverable, all to the greatest extent permissible under applicable law.
  3. Affirmer disclaims responsibility for clearing rights of other persons that may apply to the Work or any use thereof, including without limitation any person’s Copyright and Related Rights in the Work. Further, Affirmer disclaims responsibility for obtaining any necessary consents, permissions or other rights required for any use of the Work.
  4. Affirmer understands and acknowledges that Creative Commons is not a party to this document and has no duty or obligation with respect to this CC0 or use of the Work.

5 thoughts on “Open content: 150,000 works from the museum collections of the city of paris, freely available”

  1. One thing I would caution against: No variety of Creative Commons anything is a license, in the legal sense (especially bankruptcy, unfair competition, trademark, taxation, and estate/probate variations on it). It is, instead, a covenant not to sue. That can still be valuable; it still reflects intent; but, unlike a true license, a covenant not to sue may not (and in bankruptcy, absolutely does not) bind successors in interest, specifically including bankruptcy trustees; and further, a covenant not to sue does not ordinarily “run with property that is not land,”* meaning that someone who prepares a derivative work may not be able to rely upon it. (Hypothetical example: Assume that a composer’s CCL governs Hit Song A. The composer of Hit Song B may not be able to rely on that CCL if Hit Song B is arguably an infringement of or derivative work of Hit Song A. And if you’ve followed along this far, you’ll realize that this isn’t actually hypothetical at all.)

    The irony that this is the flip side of the publisher/agent community continuing to use the word “sale” when the Copyright Act of 1976 made every copyright transaction that did not involve transfer of the entire copyright a license — without ever using the word “license,” and in contrast to the then-existing “mere license” doctrine dominant in the Second Circuit — is far too much for me to ponder without about a hundred footnotes at any time, let alone after a morning in physicians’ waiting rooms. And, again, that matters a great deal: Even under the pre-UCC common law in New York selected by so many commercial publishing contracts (even those that have no right under post-1962 conflict-of-law doctrine to select New York law), a licensor has post-transaction rights that a seller does not, as a matter of law.

    So, a word to the wise to those with good intentions: Be very, very careful how you label your good intentions. In particular, don’t use an attractive-sounding or simplistic term to put people at ease when that term is deceptive.

    * OK, I can’t resist one footnote: PG probably remembers “racially restrictive covenants” from first-year property law, not to mention the distinction between covenants that run “with the land” and otherwise. And has been trying to forget about them since passing the bar exam.

    • Good points as usual, C.

      I think you said it better than Creative Commons did. This is from its License Design and Rationale section – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

      All Creative Commons licenses have many important features in common. Every license helps creators — we call them licensors if they use our tools — retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work — at least non-commercially. Every Creative Commons license also ensures licensors get the credit for their work they deserve. Every Creative Commons license works around the world and lasts as long as applicable copyright lasts (because they are built on copyright). These common features serve as the baseline, on top of which licensors can choose to grant additional permissions when deciding how they want their work to be used.

      A Creative Commons licensor answers a few simple questions on the path to choosing a license — first, do I want to allow commercial use or not, and then second, do I want to allow derivative works or not? If a licensor decides to allow derivative works, she may also choose to require that anyone who uses the work — we call them licensees — to make that new work available under the same license terms. We call this idea “ShareAlike” and it is one of the mechanisms that (if chosen) helps the digital commons grow over time. ShareAlike is inspired by the GNU General Public License, used by many free and open source software projects.

      Our licenses do not affect freedoms that the law grants to users of creative works otherwise protected by copyright, such as exceptions and limitations to copyright law like fair dealing. Creative Commons licenses require licensees to get permission to do any of the things with a work that the law reserves exclusively to a licensor and that the license does not expressly allow. Licensees must credit the licensor, keep copyright notices intact on all copies of the work, and link to the license from copies of the work. Licensees cannot use technological measures to restrict access to the work by others.

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