by Sophia Cianfrani*

Copyright protection may be extended to original works and photographs of three-dimensional works, but courts in the United States and elsewhere have declined to extend such protection to photographs of two-dimensional works. Nonetheless, many museums erroneously claim to own the copyright to photographs of objects in their collections that are in the public domain and license these images for a profit. This Contribution argues that, rather than attempting to license these non-copyrightable photographs, museums, especially those that are 501(c)(3) nonprofits, should make their collections accessible and free to the public through an open access program, which would serve the benefit of the public and better comply with the scope of copyright law.