The US government should release these 7,584 fruit paintings

The federal government is sitting on 7,584 historical agricultural watercolor paintings that it should make freely available to the public today. Currently, people have access only to low-quality previews of the images; the United States Department of Agriculture, where the archive is held, should serve the public interest by making the entire collection of high […]

Public domain victory! SpaceX photos now belong to you

It’s an exciting time for photographs from space. Last month, when Elon Musk’s privately held company SpaceX posted photos taken during a successful satellite launch, I noted that, unlike every picture NASA has ever taken, these wouldn’t enter the public domain immediately by default. It may have been an unintended side effect of the copyright […]

Earth to Elon: please let the public domain have space photos

It probably goes without saying that I am a strong supporter of Techdirt’s call for Elon Musk to release space photos taken by SpaceX into the public domain. It would continue a tradition of unrestricted space photos that began with NASA’s images—necessarily public domain, coming from a U.S. government agency—but which is jeopardized when space […]

3 circus posters that changed the face of copyright law

The 1903 Supreme Court ruling in Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co. was a hugely influential for turn-of-the-century copyright. Bleistein was an employee of a company that had designed circus posters for The Great Wallace Shows. Donaldson was a competitor of that company, and agreed to print a subsequent run of those same posters without authorization. […]