Met releases 400,000 hi-rez scans for free download, claims copyright over the public domain



If you prefer to let robots do the grunt work, you can follow or, and get art delivered to your screen!

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Bridgeman v. Corel baby!


“The Whore of Babylon” - very clever.

Dishonesty like this ought to have legal consequences.

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Clearly Met is overreaching in their copyright claim. But, what do we do about it? Do we simply use it and wait to get sued, then fight it in court? I’d like to use some of the paintings commercially but feel like I’m rolling the dice since I don’t have to resources to fight them.

Clearly these are not “faithful reproductions”. I mean, if you zoom in far enough, you can see pixels! New creations, the lot of them.

(note: this is attempted humor.)

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Give ‘em hell, Cory. Thanks!

Well, they did use the weaselly word “should” so you’re not obliged to nor will they come after you if you don’t. By the way, you should finish all your vegetables.

I got all excited when I first saw this and suggested it as a post - but now that I look closer not only is Cory right about their dumb ass copyright claims over PD content, their viewer only allows for high rez peekaboo at the images and the only download available is a measly low rez jpeg. So - no thanks, Met.

Currently working out a way to scoot past their high-rez scrolling viewer to gain access to the full sized images. It’s good to have a hobby.


On the one image I just tried, there is a “download” link on the bottom right of the scrolling HTML5 viewer that got me a full size (3320x4081) JPEG.

For reference, the image I tried was John Singleton Copley | Mrs. John Winthrop and it gave me DT2031.jpg.

The download link on this page appears to point at the same file (it looks like a down arrow, on the bottom right of the image).

Maybe some images are stored at different resolutions?


Golly. If you go looking, you can find that in They have an Open API for the whole collection at … and it works!
They are allowed to ask for attribution for such a nice resource, really. Lets encourage more like this, not snark at it.


Try clicking on the down(load) arrow in the bottom right of the zoomer or the webpage image. That button they deliberately provide will ‘scoot’ you past the restrictions you are complaining about.
On the examples I tried anyway.
As with any collection this size, not every item will be available in all formats all the time…

Unless you are saying that ~4000x4000px is “measly low rez” to you?

It’s quite literally fraud. We should be able to sue them for making such claims. It’s a legal misrepresentation, and should be a criminally chargeable offense, since copyfraud is an actual theft from the public.

I agree that their terms of required attribution for images that are just non-creative photos or scans of artwork has no weight to it. But their photos of artifacts such as statues of Egyptian pharaohs where there is a “modicum” of creativity (Feist vs. Rural) do have valid copyrights, even though the artifacts themselves are clearly in public domain, and thus their OASC terms are most definitely valid. If you wanted to use a photo (like this one: outside of the uses defined on their website, then your usage would either need to be fair use or you would have to comply with their terms in order not to infringe the copyright on their photo of the artifact. (Note, you’re not infringing any copyright on the artifact itself as that is clearly public domain, but they do have a copyright in the photo of the artifact). – @Tostie (not a lawyer)

Some of this stuff might be hi-res, but an awful lot of it isn’t hi res at all. So far, I’m batting like .020. I’m sure it’ll be great someday…

To me, looks like sloppy legal work rather than evil.

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MASSIVE USAGE against their TOS for Public Domain images, specifically. The easiest means would be to take the photo down and do pop-art or meme-type mods to it, and share on social media.

I actually prefer to let robots do my other work, so that I can lazily browse online art collections…


and the API is dedicated to Aaron Swartz:

Dedicated to the memory of Aaron Swartz.