Culture is our business
In 1989, Bill Gates founded the company Corbis, which is today one of the world’s biggest image archives whose significance is based on the acquisition of large photo archives with historically important pictures (i. a. the Bettmann Collection). In 1999, the storage of the more than 70 million reproductions was transferred from New York City to a subterranean limestone gallery in Pennsylvania. Roughly ten percent of the collection have been digitised; the pictures were watermarked and then published on the company’s Web site. After buying an image, the watermark is removed and the image is released for use. Many of the historical pictures, though, have for a long time already been common property resources according to international law. This also applies to the pictures shown on the Web site of the German Revolution of 1918/19 by the Berlin photographer Willy Römer. They came into the possession of Corbis as prints via the Otto Bettmann Collection; their original negatives are stored in a small, privately run archive in Berlin.
Culture is our business, Ines Schaber 2003/2004