Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The Illegal Map of Swedish Art

A Swedish map which does nothing but encourage and help people to find and view public works of art has been sued for violating copyright laws. Offentlig Konst is a Swedish interactive map of public art. It has just lost a case in Sweden's Supreme Court for copyright infringement.

Offentlig is a handy little map which can help you find nearby public statues and other public works of art. The map includes the name of each work of art, the name of the artist and a link to the artwork's Wikipedia entry.

It also used to include useful photos of each statue. Not any more. The Supreme Court of Sweden has ruled that it is illegal to provide free access to a database of art photographs without the artists' consent. Therefore Offentlig Konst can no longer show you a picture of a work of art, even when the artwork is in public ownership, on public display and sited in a public area,

Who said copyright laws were crazy?

Offtenling Konst is a project of Wikimedia Sweden. Wikimedia Sweden were sued by the Visual Copyright Society in Sweden. Apparently it is the job of the Visual Copyright Society in Sweden to make it more difficult to find works of art by Swedish artists.

The Wikimedia Blog has published an article looking at the Swedish court's judgement in more detail and Wikimedia's disagreement with the ruling.

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