My blog post on Dec. 2 about the LIFE photo archive hosted by Google received several comments about the copyright notice. Are all of those photos really under copyright protection? Two people, who are in contact with those on the project, said they would try to get an answer.
Checking the site, I see that all of the images still have a copyright notice and now contain the text, "For personal non-commercial use only".
Dear Time Inc. (owner of Life), you may think that's helpful, but it isn't. You haven't told us enough about your expectations. It sounds like you might want to consider a Creative Commons license such as "Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives." If that isn't what you mean, then create a page on the Google web site (or on your own) that explains what is legal in your eyes and what is not. Is educational/classroom use legal? Use in a student's report? Can an image be used in a blog? Can an image be used in a presentation that talks about digitizing photo archives? And if you want people to pay for an image, can someone pay for a digital copy?
Unbeknownst to you (Time Inc.), your users are web 2.0 savvy. They are not necessarily interested in printed framed copies of photos, but in digital versions that they can use in a variety of ways. Many don't want to use the images illegally, so they expect to understand how to gain legal access to the images. And if older images are marked as not being in the public domain, they need to know why.
Unfortunately for you, if you don't tell your users what you expectations really are and give them the correct tools, you're going to be disappointed with the results.
Technorati tags: Digitization, Google, Copyright