Doing the Right Thing

Did you know that today is the first annual World’s Fair Use Day?

We’ve been toiling over an ongoing project to better identify the rights status of objects in our online collection, so with World’s Fair Use Day it seemed like an appropriate  week to start blogging about these significant changes and launch this project into the wild.


Starting today, each object on the Museum’s collections pages will have information on its rights status, including those that are understood to be under no known copyright.  Also included is information to clarify what we mean by a certain rights type and, importantly, links to further information about copyright.  We are asking members of our community to comment and e-mail if they can provide more information about artists, corrections if they think we’ve gotten it wrong, and generally participating in our ongoing efforts. The addition of this information will be a starting point for dialog that we hope will lead to clearer, more useful rights information in our collection online.


Images that are licensed Creative Commons or are “no known copyright restrictions” can now be queried from the advanced search on our website.  All rights types are integrated into the Brooklyn Museum API, providing greater flexibility in getting to this new data. Lastly, we’ve taken one more baby step in the ongoing direction of opening up more content—with images and text that we own the copyright to, we’ve changed our default Creative Commons license on the site from a CC-BY-NC-ND to a CC-BY-NC, to allow for greater re-use of materials.

Over the next few days, we’ve got some blog posts coming about the specifics—stay tuned for posts from from Deborah Wythe, Head of Digital Collections and Services and Arlene Yu, an intern working with her.  Please be sure to read the whole series if this subject interests you.