[Cc-be] Slavish copies: Bridgeman vs Corel

Wouter Vanden hove wouter.vanden.hove at pandora.be
Sat Dec 4 11:10:36 EST 2004

I have a question on the case of Bridgeman vs Corel (1999).
Does something similar apply in Belgium or Holland?

The question is about the criterium of "originality" and "novelty"
when you take a picture of an old painting, not to add creativity of 
your own (composition, lightning, editing,...) , but to capture the 
painting mainly as it was painted by its painter. The kind of picture 
anyone would take the same way.

I'm talking only about paintings here , not about statues where
composition and lightning is more important.

In Bridgeman vs Corel
The decision noted that "There is little doubt that many photographs, 
probably the overwhelming majority, reflect at least the modest amount 
of originality required for copyright protection...." However,

"Plaintiff by its own admission has labored to create "slavish copies" 
of public domain works of art. While it may be assumed that this 
required both skill and effort, there was no spark of originality -- 
indeed, the point of the exercise was to reproduce the underlying works 
with absolute fidelity. Copyright is not available in these circumstances."

See also:

The case is important for project like Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons.
American and British Wikipedians are allowed to upload "slavish" copies 
of old (meaning public domain) art, but can Belgians to do the same?

Wouter Vanden Hove

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