Supreme Court passes common sense in copyright law for museums

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Resident legal eagle @tklyber weighs in on a Supreme Court decision made last week, a big win for museums in the US. Museums can continue to show copies of artists work.

Let’s say 30 years ago if a museum aquired a print of a WWI poster from a store or a collector. It’s common sense that the museum should be able to display the print. They bought it legally. The store was selling it legally.

But there were some people who wanted the museum to have to go back to the copyright owner and ask for permission to display the print. Which makes no sense. The print was already given legal clearance when the copyright owner said that prints could be made and sold.

The Supreme Court made the right choice. Common sense in copyright law! The ability to share! This makes me so happy!

(The above image is “Salon des Cent” from the LACMA collection. I didn’t use an image from the Art Institute collection, because ironically as this is a post about the freedom museums have to display copies of work, the Art Institute doesn’t allow the public to display images of their collection. The LACMA has a collection of 20,000 free art images for the public to freely use.)

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