I’m preparing a talk I’ll be giving next month, and found a small image I think will be appropriate as part of my presentation to community groups. I copied the image and its URL to my collections folder and then checked copyright on the site. Here’s part of what it says — The Ulster Museum – Copyright: [oh, ooops, that link shouldn’t be there. I’m in trouble now]
… No part of these websites may be permanently copied or reproduced in any form or reproduced on any other website or stored in or transmitted to or from any other electronic or digital form in whole or in part …
Oh, darn, there I go again, using part of their website without permission! Here’s the really crazy part though:
… nor may links to our website be included in any other website without our written prior permission.
But wait, it gets better! I’m not allowed to link to them, but they, on the other hand …
Disclaimer for Links
Links within the The National Museums Northern Ireland websites may lead to other websites. …
Copyright I can understand. Heck, I create stuff all the time: tutorials, articles, blog posts and whatnot, and occasionally someone even pays me for some of it. I don’t really want others profiting from my labour, if I don’t.
But the attitude of this museum is just nuts. For starters, why on earth should people not link to them? Don’t they want anyone to know about them?
I’m not allowed to quote them? Again, don’t they want anyone to spread the word, to tell others about them? If they’re so secret, why do they have a web site? But they reserve the right to link to other sites themselves. Ridiculous.
On the other hand, it seems they do want to spread awareness:
By donating to the Ulster Museum, you will be helping to promote the awareness, appreciation and understanding of the history and heritage of the north of Ireland.
So, here’s what they should do: put as much of their web content as possible under a Creative Commons licence. Make it possible, and even encourage people to use parts of their content for non-commercial purposes, with attribution and a link back to them.
If they have products for sale, then make low resolution smallish sized images (suitable for the web and email) readily available and sell the higher quality, larger images suitable for print.
And links are a good thing, unless you’re trying to hide.