Press Releases

Who Owns this Image? Art, Access, and the Public Domain after Bridgeman V. Corel

Media Advisory
April 18, 2008



Oroma Mpi, 212-382-6713


The New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Art Law

Who Owns this Image?
Art, Access, and the Public Domain after Bridgeman V. Corel

When:             Tuesday, April 29, 2008; Cocktail Reception 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.;
                         Public Panel Discussion 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Where:            New York City Bar Association, 42 West 44th Street
                         (between 5th & 6th Ave.), 2nd Floor

In Bridgeman Art Library Ltd. v. Corel Corp. (S.D.N.Y. 1999), a case concerning ownership of the Mona Lisa, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled that exact photo­graphic copies of two-dimensional public domain works of art are not copyrightable under U.S. law, because such images are not original. Yet nearly a decade after that decision, copyright in many such images continues to be asserted.

This program addresses questions currently debated across the worlds of art, publishing, and the law: Should access to public domain artworks control uses of images of those works? When and how should custodians of public domain art­works exercise control over reproductions of them? How does contract intersect with copyright in the control of image uses? Does the image permissions hurdle play a role in the decline of art publishing, or are the complaints of critics overwrought? What is the nature of the public domain with respect to works of art?

Immediately before the program, the City Bar’s Art Law Committee will host a cocktail reception in honor of the distinguished panelists. There will be a number of VIP guests from the law, art and media worlds. Members of the press are invited to attend. Please RSVP to Oroma Mpi, Press Officer, NYC Bar Association, at or (212) 382-6713 by April 28th.

Chair, Art Law Committee, New York City Bar Association; Vice President and General Counsel, Creative Commons


President, Art Resource, Artists Rights Society

Executive Editor, Prestel Publishing

Senior Copyright Counsel, Google

United States Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit

Associate General Counsel, J. Paul Getty Trust
Co-sponsored by:
The College Art Association, ARTstor, and Creative Commons

About the Association
The New York City Bar Association ( was founded in 1870, and since then has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the profession, promoting reform of the law, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.


back to top