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law decisions and any attending material should be free to the public, who pays for the courts and their workings ??

Ciaran, I may not have been clear. I agree with you that public domain images should be free for anyone to use. What I find ridiculous is that the license agreement with the Smithsonian limits what someone who views the images on the Smithsonian site can do, but that someone who views the images on the Flickr site can do whatever he/she wants to do with them. The Smithsonian should have said "these images are in the public domain, and even those of you who view them on our site can do whatever you want with them."

"it is ridiculous that anyone else can now take any of public domain images Public.Resource.Org has distributed and do whatever they want with them."

That is the whole point of public domain! The ability to create, adapt and improve without the possible inhibitive costs imposed by a copyright holder will eventually lead to advancements for everyone.

If there is an argument about which pictures are public domain and which belong to another copyright holder, the Smithsonian should of done a decent job of archiving and labelling the ones that they "owned" and disregarded the others.

Public.Resource.Org are trying to accomplish what the Smithsonian should have been doing in the first place.

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