Friday, April 29, 2016

Fair Use and Copyright in the Academic Environment

United States Copyright Law is a fascinating and complex topic.  It protects creators AND those who teach.  US copyright features a section called "Fair Use" (section 107)  that allows for the use of copyrighted material in education, news, and critique.  Reams of information have been written about copyright, and a number of important court cases have further defined copyright.  A list of resources about copyright and art are on this blog, to the right. They include the 2012 Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries (pdf), published by the ARL (Association of Research Libraries) and the 2015 Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts (pdf), published by CAA (College Art Association).

Most of the teaching, study, and research performed at universities and colleges in the US falls into the area of "Fair Use" which allows the use of copyrighted material in the classroom and library.  However, a number of misconceptions, rumors, and misinformation about Fair Use and copyright can cause fear or discomfort about using copyrighted materials for teaching and learning.  Authority figures in academics must advocate strongly for the fair use of copyrighted material in educational environments. Faculty and students should never feel timid about fair use--reluctance to exercise fair use can impact scholarship, creativity, and lecture content.

Below is a detail from the ARL info-graphic about the updated best practices the ARL advocates.  It mentions that these best practices are endorsed by other professional organizations, including VRA and ARLIS/NA. It also addresses one of the more persistent myths about fair use of copyrighted material: "arbitrary numeric limits" to copyrighted material.  Throughout my career I have heard the rumor from librarians and faculty that only a percentage of a creative work can be used under the umbrella of fair use.  The ARL clearly states in this infographic that this misconception was addressed in a recent federal court and was found to be "impractical and unnecessary" and "not compatible with the language and content" of fair use.

(click to enlarge. see whole poster here)

The University of Denver maintains a subscription to Artstor, a database of over two million images from 290 collections for teaching and learning.  Artstor is a strong advocate for respecting copyright AND for exercising fair use.  They are hosting a webinar on copyright called The Dos and Don'ts of Image Copyright and Image Use on May 18th.  This might be a good introduction to copyright for those who are unsure about the topic and wish to be better informed.  (You can find Artstor through the University of Denver's library page by looking at the databases by the letter A.)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

NYPL digital collections: Public Domain Images!

 In January 2016, the New York Public Library announced enhanced access to public domain (out-of-copyright) images on their website!  You can read more about this addition of 180,000 images on the NYPL's blog or you can dive right into the public domain images by selecting "Public Domain Picks" on the main page.


I always enjoy looking at the FSA and WPA photographs, and there is also quite a collection of WPA art available as well. There is a collection of over 1500 Medieval and Renaissance manuscript illuminations available, and some 42,000 historic stereoscopic photographs great diversity!

Colonial Park, Richard Lindsay (lithograph)

Friday, February 12, 2016

High Resolution exploration of the Garden of Earthly Delights!

"The interactive documentary Jheronimus Bosch, the Garden of Earthly Delights provides an in-depth tour though The Garden of Earthly Delights. In a web interface the visitor will be taken on an audio-visual journey, including sound, music, video and images to enrich the storytelling."

Thursday, February 4, 2016

All 118 issues of Folk Art, the magazine of the American Folk Art Museum, online

The American Folk Art Museum has digitized all of the issues of its journal Folk Art  (formerly The Clarion) and made them available online! Each issue is in full color and the text is searchable.
The American Folk Art Museum is the premier institution devoted to the aesthetic appreciation of traditional folk art and creative expressions of contemporary self-taught artists from the United States and abroad. The museum preserves, conserves, and interprets a comprehensive collection of the highest quality, with objects dating from the eighteenth century to the present.