Answered By: Darren Chase Last Updated: Feb 20, 2017 Views: 44
Thanks for your question. Though the image is in the public domain, NYPL has rights to their specific digital version - they have probably done work on it to ensure quality, etc. I would not advise crediting them as the source without contacting them first. Here's contact info for permissions/licensing: NYPL Digital Gallery.
In general, only the original material is in the public domain - in this case, a photograph. Or it could be an historic newspaper, book, etc. Whoever has access to that original can digitize it, but it becomes a different version. In some cases, people may offer the digitized version for free, but in many cases, companies and organizations charge for use. That's why the library pays $250,000 to $500,000 for a database that's made up entirely of material in the public domain.
For more information on copyright, you can take a look at the links below. If you have any other questions, please let us know.