What Is Ronchey Law

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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GeorgeB
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What Is Ronchey Law

Post by GeorgeB » Tue May 23, 2017 11:03 am

Hi

This is follow up to a query I posted recently.

I wanted to use an image for a charity project. The image appears in several sites most of which claim the image has no copyright attached to it (at least in the US).

The image, however also appears on a site owned by the University of Bologna who appear to claim ownership and the site displays the following:

"..The consultation and use of the images of Aldrovandi manuscripts presented on this site are protected by Law No. 4 of 14/01/1993 on Copyright (Ronchey Law). It is forbidden to reproduce or duplicate images from manuscripts that can be consulted on the site without the written permission of the Bologna University Library. The Library has its own tariff and regulations to grant the right to use and reproduce the images presented on the site. It will only allow those who want to use the images..."

I've never heard of Ronchey Law and I have 2 questions relating to the above. Firstly, does the copyright warning only apply to their site (University of Bologan) but not other sites with the same image. And secondly, does Ronchey Law apply in the UK.

Any information would be most helpful.

George

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Tue May 23, 2017 1:55 pm

Hi George,

Until your question I had never heard of Ronchey's Law (named after Alberto Ronchey who was Italian Minister for Cultural Affairs 1992-94). The purpose of this 'law' was to open "the doors of national museums to private agents willing to take over the management of the so-called "auxiliary services" (bookshops and museum shops, cafeterias, merchandising, etc.)" and to break the monopoly held over cultural institutions exercised by the state employed museum staff.

One of the areas which was opened up to private enterprise was that on merchandising, and in order to make this attractive to would-be entrepreneurs, certain exclusive rights were conferred on those who wished to exploit some of the materials held by the museums. However Ronchey's Law has been repealed so it no longer applies.

For the sake of interest here is a translation of the main part of Ronchey's law as it applied to reproductions:
1. Without prejudice to the requirements for the protection of the physical and cultural integrity of cultural goods delivered to the Ministry for Cultural and Environmental Heritage and the provisions on reproductions and rights of authors, reproduction and use of such goods and materials (photo prints, negatives, slides, films, tapes, optical disks, facsimiles, casts, pads and the like) are subject to concession.

2. Reproduction of cultural goods is subject to payment of the fees and fees set in this tariff. Reproduction for strictly personal use or for study purposes is subject only to the reimbursement of the expenses incurred by the administration. Reproduction and filming for research purposes with strict scientific technical nature are not subject to payment of the rights under this tariff, as well as concessions in the use of spaces intended for institutional purposes and as authorized by the competent bodies.

3. Upon request, addressed to the head of the cultural institute or supervisor, the person concerned shall provide any information and information necessary to evaluate and take action. In particular, the applicant must indicate the means, mode and place of execution of the reproductions, purposes and destination of the same, quantity he intends to obtain and place on the market as well as distribution forms. If it is reproduction for strictly personal use or for study purposes, the applicant must sign a commitment regarding the non-disclosure, dissemination and distribution of copies made to the public. Violation of this commitment may lead to exclusion from access to state cultural institutions (superintendencies, museums, archives, libraries) as well as the application of the sanctions provided by the relevant applicable law. The franchise is non-transferable and is issued non-exclusively, once only, upon the verification of the existence of all the required requirements and payment of the fees as set in out this tariff, which do not include any remuneration in respect of the rights of authors or third parties. If provided, the security deposit must be made to the extent indicated.

Before it is distributed to the public, a copy of each reproduction must be handed over to the administration at no cost. Except for special agreements, the administration may require three copies of each work produced.

No use other than the stated one may be considered legitimate without the written permission of the administration.
If you can read Italian, the original text can be found here.

And in answer to your second question, no, Italian law does not apply in the UK.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

GeorgeB
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Post by GeorgeB » Tue May 23, 2017 2:12 pm

Hi Andy

Thank you for that. I don't read Italian but your translation of the main part was more than sufficient.

Can I just quickly check then that I can safely download and use one of the images (from a different site) without having to seek permission.

Thanks again for your response and help.

George

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Tue May 23, 2017 3:32 pm

Hi George,

It very much depends on what the original image is and its copyright status. If you are confident that artist died more than 70 years ago then you should be safe to download it from one of the other sites. Obviously I can't say categorically that there is no copyright in the digital reproduction of the original, but I think it is safe to say that no institution (like the University of Bologna) wants to test the law on that particular aspect in a foreign jurisdiction (UK) where the outcome might be to their disadvantage, given the lack of original creativity inherent in a facsimile digital copy (as was argued in the Bridgement Art Library case in the USA on which Wikimedia bases many of its assumptions about public domain works)
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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Post by GeorgeB » Tue May 23, 2017 3:45 pm

Andy

Thank you so much for that - the image is a scan from book of illustrations dating back to the 17th century.

Your replies have been extremely helpful.

Regards

George

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