Friday, April 10, 2009

Meshwerks vs. Toyota extends "lack of original creativity" concept to exclude copyright of wiremesh renderings

Yesterday I mentioned on the ning Museum3.0 discussion board that US courts have ruled that a digital reproduction of a 2-D work of art in the digital domain is essentially noncopyrightable. One of the members from Australia replied that she had never heard of this ruling before. I pointed out that I was referring to Bridgeman Art Library Vs. Corel Corp. and Googled this ruling to get a link for her to read more about it. I found that someone had posted information about the ruling on Wikipedia. I was surprised to read in the Wikipedia Article that another ruling, Meshwerks vs. Toyota, has extended the "lack of originality" concept to include wireframe renderings of existing three dimensional works as well.

The article also points out that UK museums continue to claim copyright but these copyrights would be essentially unenforceable for images used on a website hosted in the United States. The US courts essentially find the notion of "slavish copying" trumps the UK notion of "sweat of the brow".

I personally agree with the US ruling. If museums restrict access to public domain art by prohibiting visitor photography, the concept of public domain art is destroyed. Copyright would then have nothing to do with supporting creativity but bastardized into law enforcement for commercial activity based simply on possession of artistic work.
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