by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
art, cc0, copyright, data, public domain


MoMA Releases Data On 125,000 Art Works To The Public

from the good-for-them dept

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is not just one of the most famous museums in the world, is also trying to give back to the public somewhat as well. Not only has it proudly embraced Creative Commons by displaying CC's own logo as a part of its collection, it has decided to release data on over 125,000 works into the public domain by posting them to Github using a cc0 public domain dedication.

Unfortunately, the data included does not include images of the artwork, which would have been a much more impressive move. Also, on the Github page, there is a list of "usage guidelines" which includes lines such as saying if you modify the dataset "you must make it clear that the resulting dataset has been modified by you." Of course, that's not actually required. Most of the other "guidelines" are more in the form of a request -- which is fine -- rather than a command. Of course, it's not even clear if the data in the dataset even could be covered by copyright, as most of it appears to be factual data (names of projects, dates, sizes, etc.) which would be akin to a phone book -- whose data are decidedly not covered by copyright.

So, yes, it's always great to see more people embracing the public domain, and it's unquestionably great that MoMA is releasing all this data in an easily accessible format without restrictions. But it could still go even further. Hopefully we'll soon reach an age when this kind of thing is just standard operating procedure, rather than it being considered a big thing to release some datasets to the public to use.

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