Posted by Eric Fandrich on February 09, 1999 at 12:40:19:
In Reply to: Re: Public Domain and artwork posted by M. Arthur Auslander on February 09, 1999 at 11:05:18:
: The owner of a work is entitled to register a copyright on a reproduction of the work or art. Infringment is the copying of the reproduction.
: There are subtleties that I don't care to spend the time to research. I do not believe that an artistic creation of an image from a reproduction is not an infringment. I would be inclined to believe that modifying a reproduction could be an infringement.
: Even photocopying a public domain book is not an infrimgement. You have the feel of what to avoid in copying public domain books.
: There is, I think in New York, the Bettman Archive, that supplies images. Check with them and they may be able to provide what you want legally. The wrong in copyright is the copying thus copying the reproduction is an infringement even if the work itself is in the public domain.
: M. Arthur Auslander
It seems to me in this is that in the case of a book, there are multiple instances of it in the public domain.
As such, one can easily "copy" or reproduce the text of the book without reverting to the original script or writer's notes.
A piece of art, on the other hand exists primarily in the form of the original, usually owned by galleries or individuals, and so although the work is potentially "Public" in essence it remains private property.
The reproductions and lithos of art are similar to published (text) books. The printing of a book could be considered a typesetting technology reducing the author's (Public Domain ) draft to a given form. In the same way, a book publishing paintings is using a particular technology (usually photography) to reproduce the Public Domain artwork in a mass way.
If, as you suggest, you can photocopy a Public Domain book with impunity, why not then a book of art?
This is the grey I am trying to clarify. Seems like quite a crack in the sidewalk.
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