Can I display on the Internet my photos of paintings made before 1800?

I took pictures of paintings in Europe showing scenes of plague epidemics for use in my microbiology classes. All of the paintings were made before 1800. I would like to make my pictures freely available to interested people on the Internet. Am I correct that I do not need permission from museums that own these paintings because copyright has expired?

Mark on Aug 8, 2012

Yes, probably. I believe that the paintings would be in the public domain, in which case you would presumably be free to photograph them and display those photos on the Internet. Additionally, your use certainly sounds like “fair use” (as research and education).

public domain, fair use

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