Met Museum Giving Away 400,000 Works
Copyright and restriction-free high-resolution images made available to the public for by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
T he Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is ready to give away 400,000 of their best works free to patrons. On May 16, 2014, Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art made the announcement that high resolution images of pubic domain art will be able for download from the museum’s website.
“Through this new, open-access policy, we join a growing number of museums that provide free access to images of art in the public domain. I am delighted that digital technology can open the doors to this trove of images from our encyclopedic collection,” says Campbell.
The works will be available for non-commercial use including scholarly publication in any media without permission or a fee. New images will be added as they become available on a regular basis.
Art in the public domain is defined as works that had their intellectual property rights expired. In the US, paintings (and pictures of the paintings) retain their copyright for the creator’s lifetime plus 70 years for artworks created after 1978. However, there are several exclusions, including if an estate continues to own the copyright of the works. Before 1978, the copyright lasted less than 30 years, opening a large portion of the museum’s collection to be digitally shared. Images of sculpture and other three dimensional objects are largely excluded from the free-use digital download—since a picture of a sculpture is considered its own original work capturing the point of view of the photographer.
Works on the museum’s website will be identified with the acronym OASC—letters designating it as part of the Open Access for Scholarly Content initiative, the name given to the free digital access program.
Explore the collection online, 24/7 at: http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online