The British Museum has placed 1.9 million high-rez images of objects in its holdings online under a Creative Commons license, which is excellent news!
What's more, they've got an advanced suite of tools for searching and downloading these images. It's a really impressive technical and cultural achievement.
But there's a fly in the ointment (more than one).
First, the museum takes the position that these public domain works acquire a new copyright once someone makes a high-quality photo of them. They have chosen a very restrictive CC license (CC BY-NC-SA).
This is wrong as a matter of UK law, as the UK Intellectual Property Office has stated:
"When we stole these artifacts, it was culture. When you sell our pictures, that's theft."
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