"Your Honour, I concede that at first glance it appears I have breached copyright by publishing certain illuminated manuscript images on the website called BibliOdyssey. I agree that copying or publishing even a single pixel of data requires specific permission from each of the four institutions which maintain the research portal where the digitized manuscript images are hosted.
But the court should hear that after obsequiously petitioning the portal adminstrator and receiving an access password, I was immediately overwhelmed by the beauty and artisanship on display, such that close reading of the terms and conditions did not suggest itself as a matter for priority.
Instead, I set about studying the images and every so often I took screen captures of small segments from random pages which were downloaded to my local hard drive. All the images published on BibliOdyssey required splicing together of up to seven individual screen captures to meet the stringent BibliOdyssey sizing policies. These activities took place some months before the alleged copyright breach.
So it was Your Honour that I recently chanced upon the images in question after overlooking them for some time, but try as I might, I could not recall the name of the famous set of manuscripts nor the website address of the portal. After deliberating long and hard I made the decision to publish them anyway, deciding that the passage of 600 years ought to have substantially extinguished the plaintiff's copyright assertions.
Normal practice at BibliOdyssey is to be assiduous in providing attribution and identifying owners and/or copyright holders in relation to published images. The abberrant conduct at issue today should therefore be viewed as a single uncharacteristic episode in which an exceedingly small amount of manuscript material was displayed so that some other people might have the opportunity to enjoy the medieval beauty that is usually hidden away in padlocked digital cloisters.
I submit that the extenuating circumstances outlined are sufficient justification for publishing the images and I ask that Your Honour dismiss the plaintiff's suit. Thank you."
Monday, August 07, 2006
Posted by peacay at 7:42 pm