Bridgeman Art Library Sues Corel

Posted on 7/27/1998 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



July 29, 1998

Suit To Defend Copyright of Copy Transparencies of Fine Art Work

The Bridgeman Art Library is pursuing unauthorized use of more than 150
images in its collection which appeared on clip art discs published by Corel and which
could be downloaded for use for a few dollars each from the Corel Web Site. The
images were sold to Corel by a third party who has since gone into liquidation and
who neither Corel nor Bridgeman have been able to trace in order to question further.

The Bridgeman Art Library started the action some time ago on behalf of
the museums and other art collections it represents who own the copyright in the
photography of the works of art involved. Corel has argued that the paintings
are out of copyright and thus anyone is free to use the images as they wish.
They argue that the photographs of these paintings do not deserve copyright protection
in their own right. This is a rather disingenuous argument considering
they paid for images which they now claim are public domain.

Harriet Bridgeman comments, "Museums and Art Collections around
the world rely on income from reproduction rights to the material in their collections.
It is an outrageous suggestion that their photography is not in their copyright.
Photographing a work of art is a skilled undertaking. If Corel believes that
photographs of paintings do not deserve copyright protection where do you draw
the line? Who is to judge how much skill and effort a photograph entails? Why
should a snapshot of a group of friends taken by an amateur be awarded copyright
and not a carefully lit photograph of a painting taken by a professional in
that field?"

Museums represented by the Bridgeman Art Library whose photographs are
involved in the action include the National Galleries of Scotland, the Wallace
Collection, London, The Guildhall Art Gallery and the Fitzwilliam Museum.
Deborah Hunter, Photographic Licensing Manager at the National Galleries of
Scotland comments: "Reproduction of our images without permission
is theft of our intellectual copyright in whatever format."

The Bridgeman Art Library is the world's most comprehensive source of fine art images for
publication, with over 100,00 images of works from over 750 collections
worldwide. They have received European Union funding in association with La Reunion
des Musees Nationaux in France, Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz in
Berlin, CTS Technology in Ireland and ImageFinder systems in Zurich, to
create "Artweb" - a multilingual access point on the internet to the
world's art.

Copyright © 1998 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff