Met releases 400,000 hi-rez scans for free download, claims copyright over the public domain

Robbo sez, "The Metropolitan Museum of Art has just released almost 400,000 visual works in an online searchable database. The images are high rez (10 megapixels) and free to download. Thank you Met!"

Well, yeah, except the terms and conditions pretend that the Met can tell you how you're allowed to use public domain art (!). Lucky for the Met that such conditions are null and void, otherwise they wouldn't be able to scan and share these images in the first place. Sheesh! Remember, faithful reproductions of works in the public domain do not attract new copyrights, as a matter of well-settled US law.

Notable Replies

  1. Robbo says:

    I got all excited when I first saw this and suggested it as a post - but now that I look closer not only is Cory right about their dumb ass copyright claims over PD content, their viewer only allows for high rez peekaboo at the images and the only download available is a measly low rez jpeg. So - no thanks, Met.

    Currently working out a way to scoot past their high-rez scrolling viewer to gain access to the full sized images. It's good to have a hobby.

  2. On the one image I just tried, there is a "download" link on the bottom right of the scrolling HTML5 viewer that got me a full size (3320x4081) JPEG.

    For reference, the image I tried was John Singleton Copley | Mrs. John Winthrop and it gave me DT2031.jpg.

    The download link on this page appears to point at the same file (it looks like a down arrow, on the bottom right of the image).

    Maybe some images are stored at different resolutions?

Continue the discussion

16 more replies