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Re: Is this use fair?



Hi everyone--

    I am a papermaker, but I'm also an archivist, and deal with copyright issues
nearly every working day of my life.  By no means do I claim to be an expert, but
I would agree in principle that as long as you have the artist's permission to
mount their work on the web as an educational exercise, that particular use ought
to be 'fair use.'.

    However--artists--consider this:  once your work is mounted on the web, it's
considered by many, if not most, users to be fair game for further dissemination
-- & you should realize that it may wind up being used in a way that you may
consider inappropriate (as artwork for a calendar,  to decorate a restaurant,
etc.-- in the course of my work, I've occasionally been shocked, amazed &
sometimes amused at where images from our collections have turned up).   The
average Joe/Jane, in my professional opinion, has little concept of copyright.
And with the new revision to the copyright act, you practically need to be a
copyright lawyer to understand all the ramifications of it.

    While there is no real solution to the problem (except just not mounting your
work on the web in the first place), I do offer a couple of suggestions:  To
artists:  mount low resolution images on the web (72 dpi), and advise people who
are interested in better quality, reproducible images to contact you directly.  To
web meisters:  Ditto on the low res. images; and also consider including a
statement advising viewers that downloading & further disseminating such materials
without permission of the artist may be a copyright infringement, for which they
may be liable for damages.

    Of course, it has ever been thus.  Unauthorized uses of copyrighted materials
happen all the time--yea, even before the digital age came upon us.  Copyright
owners (unless they happen to be corporations with deep pockets, like Disney --
famous for pursuing copyright violations, even non-commercial ones) rarely have
the time, money or inclination to pursue infringers.  But, you can at least serve
notice on them (with the statement mentioned above).

    If you're *really* concerned about protecting your work, you might look into
watermarking, or otherwise digitally encrypting it (we've done some of this using
PhotoShop for stuff we mount on the web:  http://sage.library.emory.edu/).  I
understand that there is also software available that will enable you to trace the
image using encryption devices and go-bots.  I really don't know much about this
technology -- I gather it's still in its infancy & not terribly effective yet.
Besides, who wants to spend all their time tracking down copyright violators --
you want to make art!

    While unauthorized use of copyrighted material has been a perennial problem,
the unprecedented rapidity & quality of dissemination of high resolution images, &
their 'creative' re-use on the web (& elsewhere) just magnifies the problem.
Also, the possibility of having your work altered -- cropped or changed in some
way from the original, would be a concern to me.

    This may not worry you at all -- and if so, apologies for wasting your time
with this post.  (a lot of people think archivists are paranoid about copyright
infringement anyway), but if you do want to read more on the subject, check out
the Copyright Management Center at Indiana University, which has links to the
latest copyright info and recommendations:  http://www.iupui.edu/it/copyinfo/

Bev Allen
Emory Univ.

Pete Steiner wrote:

> Kristy,
> Eric has the right idea.  I don't know anyone who would object to educational
> use of their work.
> -Peter-
>
> Kristy Higby wrote:
>
> > I teach studio art at the high school level and am in the process of =
> > addidng  bookarts to our curriculum. The internet is a wonderful source =
> > for examples of contemporary work. It's very easy to put together a slide =
> > show of jpeg images and have them available for easy reference. I always =
> > include whatever information is available with each image and certainly =
> > the artist's name. I've included Eric's opinion (thanks, Eric) on this =
> > practice and would like to hear from others.
> >
> > *********************************
> >
> > I am not an expert at copyright law, but there is a fair use clause for
> > educational use.  Which means something like if you are using an article =
> > for a
> > class on a one time basis, you can pass around a copy for the students.  =
> > Whether
> > this means make an individual copy for each student or not is not exactly =
> > clear.=20
> > Nothing is really clear in copyright law!
> >
> > As for getting permission for your situation, you probably would get away =
> > with
> > it on the above mentioned fair use clause, if it went that far in a legal
> > proceeding (but please don't quote me on this!  I'm not a lawyer!!). =20
> >
> > But as a common courtesy, if the artist is mentioned and there is contact
> > information, I would write and ask permission. I can't think of any artist =
> > who
> > wouldn't allow such a use.  It helps promote the craft/art and gives the =
> > artist
> > some free exposure!  And I think that most artists like to know who is =
> > looking
> > at their work and judges it worthy enough for inclusion in a teaching/examp=
> > le
> > situation.
> >
> > This is just my opinion, though.  Others may feel differently. You may =
> > want to
> > pose your question to the list as a whole.  Feel free to use my message on =
> > the
> > list as a springboard if you wish.  I would be curious to know what other =
> > book
> > artists think.
> >
> > Eric=20
> >
> > **********************************
> > Eric Alstrom
> > Collections Conservator
> > Dartmouth College Libraries
> > Hanover, New Hampshire


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