Gara sent me this earlier in the week.
“From CNI – Project Briefing: Spring 2005 Task Force Meeting
Public Domain Art in an Age of Easier Mechanical Reproducibility
Executive Director, Digital Policy & Initiatives J. Paul Getty Trust
Instead of asserting intellectual property rights in images of public domain works as nearly every art museum does now, it is argued here that publicly and pro-actively placing these images in the public domain and clearly removing all questions about their availability for use and reuse would likely cause no harm to the financial position or trustworthy reputation of any collecting institution and would demonstrably contribute to the public good. As those images have become digital assets and as the preferred delivery venue has become increasingly an electronic network, the ante has been raised to do so. The manner in which this might be done may require consultation with legal counsel. The fact of doing it, however, is not a legal decision but a business decision that can be evaluated by non-profits in measuring success against the mission.”