February 22, 2012

A simple photo as an example of trust

Autoretrat - Xavier Miserachs. CC-BY-SA
Xavier Miserachs was a quite known Catalan Photographer. In February 2011 the Miserachs family deposited 80,000 photographic images at MACBA -Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art- as well as documentation and several notebooks. This treasure trove, is structured around the series that produced some of the most important photography books in the history of the art in our country.  To spread the artworks, MACBA uploaded some albums to Flickr, and convinced the family to release some photos with CC-BY-ND.

But CC-BY-ND content is not reusable on any Wikimedia projects, so we couldn't upload anything to Wikimedia Commons.

On May 2011, a group of Catalan wikimedians met the MACBA curators at the library of the museum and improved during several weeks Xavier Miserachs Wikipedia entry. Curators, books and Wikipedians focused on improving just one topic, until the article was featured on Catalan Wikipedia. Then curators reviewed the content and so did the family, thanking us the effort. Today is translated to Spanish, English and Russian.

Viewing the involvement of the community and the efforts made, the photographer's heirs have agreed to release one of the author's few self-portraits under a CC-BY-SA license. I know that it's only one photo, but is an example of how the good work and understanding between the cultural sector and the free knowledge community is a win-win relationship. An example of trust. Small steps allow us to keep going.


  1. A wonderful story! It will be interesting to hear if there is any further development in this family's thinking about the value of releasing the photo under a free license. I hope they find it a rewarding decision!

  2. Thanks for your comments, Pete. MACBA museum is planning a major Miserachs exhibit for 2013. I hope than in 2013 our relationship with both the museum and the family has gone a little bit deeper into OpenKnowledge projects ;)

  3. Thank you for documenting how the Wikipedia community, the museum, and the media rightsholders worked together to set this important precedent.