The Art Gallery of Ontario unveiled a new photography policy late last year that is facing mounting criticism. The policy permits personal, non-commercial photos of some of the architectural elements of the gallery building, but, citing copyright concerns, forbids photography in places where artworks are installed. According to the AGO:
While our visitors often point out that some other major art museums in the world allow photography of artwork, many of those collections are no longer subject to copyright restrictions, or are under different copyright rules than those in Canada. We didn’t set the copyright rules but we are required to respect them.
It is not clear what rules the AGO is referring to, but as Joe Clark points out, there are many exceptions that may apply. Moreover, many works in the Gallery's collection are already in the public domain so that contrary to their claims, copyright law is not a barrier to a more liberal photography policy. The AGO can obviously establish its own policy, but it should not rely on misleading copyright claims to support unpopular restrictions.