In something of a tempest in a teapot, both the general counsel and marketing director for the Barnes Foundation flexed some muscle this afternoon, forcing a website called Blip.tv to remove a videotaped documentary called 'Albert Barnes: The Collector' from public view.
That in turn caused a link to the video on the Save Ardmore Coalition website to go dark. Copyright issues were the justification, the two claimed. The process - from frosty exchange with the Ardmore-based webmaster to disappearance of the video - took 28 minutes.
Albert Barnes, the famed collector of Impressionist paintings, has been written about in the Inquirer's pages and on philly.com. The decision to move those paintings from their home in Merion to a new museum on the Parkway is still the subject of litigation in Orphans Court in Norristown.
At 2:11 p.m. today, Save Ardmore Coalition webmaster Doug Muth posted: So I just got a note from one Andrew Stewart, the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at The Barnes Foundation. He asserted that the Barnes Foundation owns the copyright to that video, and asked me to remove it from this website. I wrote back to him and kindly pointed out that the video isn't on this website, but on Blip.tv, and he should take the matter up with them.
Added Muth: I hope he wasn't actually asking that I take down the post in question, since that would offend my tender sensibilities.
Brett Miller, the foundation's general counsel weighed in: They need to remove the link to it, now that we put them on notice. They are contributorily liable for infringement if they don't. We'll deal with Blip.tv directly.
Ever the gent, Muth posted: Um, you do know I didn't even write the post in question, right? It was written by one of our regular users, politeia. Did you talk to him before writing to me?
At 2:39, politea posted: Wow, that was fast. I was not asked by anyone to remove the above video, but it is no longer available on Blip.tv.
All of which drew a blast from a poster named busy bee: If you want to repair the public image of the Barnes, this wasn't the way to do it. The irony is, I, for one, had completely lost interest in the whole Barnes drama ... until now.