circa 1880 by the French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Although his works are all firmly in the public domain, they are often incorrectly “licensed” restrictively by opportunists (which can be considered “copyfraud” by the uncharitable)
In Enclosing the public domain: The restriction of public domain books in a digital environment, a paper in First Monday, researchers from the Victoria University of Wellington document the widespread proactice of putting restrictions on scanned copies of public domain books online.
“The argument for asserting copyrights in public domain works is that the public interest is best served by taking public money to acquire and maintain national cultural treasures, then selling access to them, and using the money to reduce the amount that the public pays for future operations. I understand and reject that argument. A real public domain in national treasures allows for a much broader range of uses and reproductions than the limited, noncommercial, no-derivatives license permits, and these uses would benefit our public life.”
Although copyright maximalists have succeeded in slowing new additions to our shared public domain, and lawmakers have done nothing to protect the public’s domain from copyfraud, I am nonetheless thankful for what we have.
This 120 year old Thanksgiving cover art by Louis Rhead is in the public domain worldwide. Happy Thanksgiving!