Yale abolishes reproduction fees
May 11 2011
Picture: Yale Center for British Art, 'Mr & Mrs John Gravenor and their daughters', by Thomas Gainsborough.
Hurrah! Yale University will abolish reproduction fees for everything in its museums and collections. Amy Meyers, the director for the Yale Center for British Art, says:
'The ability to publish images directly from our online catalogues without charge will encourage the increased use of our collections for scholarship, a benefit to which we look forward with the greatest excitement.'
UK museums should really think hard about doing likewise. Our high reproduction fees are a great barrier to effective scholarship. And the small income museums earn from such rights (after the high administration costs) results in silly rules about not taking photos in museums, and secutiry guards jumping on you if you so much as reach for your phone.
So, let's all relax about copyright - it is never going to be the big earner people envisaged. Image reproduction should be viewed as part of a museum's core purpose of spreading knowledge - and be free.