NPG takes on Wikipedia

Simon Stephens, Issue 109/8, p9, August 2009
Website volunteer given copyright violation order
The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) is in dispute with a US-based Wikipedia volunteer who downloaded more than 3,000 high-resolution images from the London institution's website.

The gallery, which charges fees for the use of high-resolution images, has spent £1m on digitisation and has put about 60,000 images online.

An NPG statement said it was "concerned that potential loss of licensing income from the high-resolution files threatens its ability to reinvest in digitisation". The NPG made £339,000 from reproduction rights in 2008/09.

The NPG's lawyer, Farrer & Co, sent a letter to the Wikipedia volunteer, Derrick Coetzee, on 10 July. Coetzee's lawyer responded on 20 July. The NPG is now deciding how to proceed.