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One million free pictures from British Library

The British Library has published 1 million free-to-use pictures from 65.000 books from the 17th, 18th and 19th century, digitized by Microsoft, on flickr.

It is possible to search thru this collection, thus if you need for instance a free picture of an elephant, here is one:

9 blog comments below

Nice find Amagard. Interesting photos. Guess Flickr is in clover as a result. Razz
deanhills on Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:09 pm
What are the terms/license for using these images?
Peterssidan on Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:04 pm
That is cool, amagard. Thanks for sharing.
standready on Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:25 am
Peterssidan, when you select an image and scroll down on the flickr page you see: "No known copyright restrictions". There is a link to "Copyright and Your use of the British Library Website", where it is said under header "Content on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons":
These works are marked "no known copyright restrictions", indicating that the British Library is unaware of any current copyright restrictions on these works.
amagard on Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:26 pm
I saw it said "no known copyright restrictions" but I thought it was a bit vague. It doesn't mean there are no unknown copyright restrictions. Oh, well, I guess people using them will have to be prepared to stop using them if something turns up.
Peterssidan on Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:48 pm
Arent books and music over so many years of age free from copyright anyway? I think all 19th century books and music would fall into that category.
truespeed on Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:42 pm
Strange that they should use Flickr for publishing the collection though, and not the British Library Museum.
deanhills on Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:16 pm
Makes sense - the BL probably don't have sufficient h/ware to allow the sort of mass access that flickr and other such systems are designed for. If the objective is just to put it out there and let people access and use as they like, then using a platform designed for that seems to be a logical way forward. Quite a few Universities are doing similar with, for example, videos of lectures being put on youtube for student access.
Bikerman on Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:33 am
I think it is very very unlikely that some author from the 17th, 18th or 19th century shows up these days to insist in his copyrights. I'd say British Library just made clear ( and legally "waterproof" ) that they can't know for 100 % sure whether there might be any copyrights still valid for any of the 65.000 books.
A lot of famous institutions use flickr because it is a very popular platform and makes it easy to find and access those photos. And yes, they definitely have the right infrastructure to do so.
NASA, by the way, has also a nice collection of photos labeled "No known copyright restrictions".
I wouldn't hesitate to use them as well:

I actually would think all these photos are owned by NASA and when they say "No known copyright restrictions" it means in 99 % of cases "No copyright restrictions". This 1 % is probably for a case where one of their photographer stands up and claims: "Wait a minute, those photos are owned by me !" And then starts a dispute about some little paragraph in his contract with NASA.
Stay tuned for my next blog posting about how to find more free photos on flickr.
amagard on Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:41 pm

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