significance of name-bearing types

Bill Shear wshear at EMAIL.HSC.EDU
Wed Oct 2 16:16:20 CDT 2002

On 10/2/02 3:01 PM, "Barry M. OConnor" <bmoc at UMICH.EDU> wrote:

> At 7:03 PM +0100 10/2/02, Lynn Raw wrote:
> ...Since Type specimens are the 'property of science' and therefore are not
>> 'owned' by either individuals or institutions...
> This is, unfortunately, not true. The ICZN (72.10) says they're "held in
> trust for science" so they're still "owned" by the individuals or
> institutions.  At least one major European museum carries the notion of
> ownership beyond the actual specimen by having a policy stating that they
> retain ownership (or copyright) of any images made from any of their
> specimens, including types.  Therefore, you can't publish or put a photo
> you took of one of their specimens on your web site without obtaining
> permission. You have to sign off on this before they'll let you see the
> specimens. - Barry

I think Barry is referring to the notorious British Museum (Natural

I wonder if this policy has ever been legally tested?  In other words, has
anyone published a photo of a BMNH specimen without permission and been sued
by them?  Or would they have to sue--they could just cut you off from access
to the collections.

One wonders what they hope to gain by such a rule.  Do they expect the
scientists who come in and order their collections for them to pay a fee to
publish pictures of the specimens whose value they enhanced by working on

What about drawings, which are still images of the specimens? I'm definitely
in violation in this case.  And is the rule retroactive?  Do they plan to
collect from people who published such images before the rule was in place?
Rhetorial questions, obviously.

Ditto to what Sr. Kreevich said about regulations.

Bill Shear

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