Source: Times of Israel
Wikimedia Israel, the local branch of online free information service Wikipedia, has published some 28,000 pre-Israel photographs taken in and around the region which would eventually become the Jewish state. The images provide snapshots of life in the area. As they are all over 50 years old, the photos are copyright free and available for use by everyone, the organization said.
“These photos, which tell the history of the people who lived in this region between the years 1900-1946, are accessible for search, study, research, and use by the Israeli public and throughout the world,” Wikimedia said in a statement announcing the publication of the images earlier this month.
The images are on the Wikimedia Israel website (Hebrew).
Under Israeli law, copyright for images lasts for 50 years. The photos were garnered by sifting through publicly available material in the state archives, the Government Press Officer, the Jewish National Fund, the Palmach archive, and the archive of the Moshe Sharett Heritage Society.
The Association of Israeli Archivists in a letter to its members and the media, criticized Wikimedia for what it said was its cavalier method in obtaining and publishing the photos, the Calcalist website reported.
In publishing the images Wikimedia Israel said it was acting under the mission statement of its parent organization, the international non-profit organization Wikimedia Foundation which states “Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.” Michal Lester, executive director of Wikimedia Israel, insisted that the organization’s actions were perfectly legal.