Friday, February 13, 2009

"Can I use this image?"

Whether you are a faculty member or student, it can be confusing to determine your rights to use images in various ways, such as classroom presentations, written assignments, conference presentations, or publications. To complicate matters, images of art and architecture often involve intellectual property rights at two levels: the underlying work and of the image of that work. There are two useful online tools to help individuals understand the underlying principles at work and to guide them in making informed decisions based on variables involved with particular images.

Michael Brewer and the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy have published the online Digital Copyright Slider tool to help you decide whether materials are protected by copyright.

The Intellectual Property Rights Committee of the Visual Resources Association provides an online tool called the Digital Image Rights Computator (DIRC). It is "intended to assist the user in assessing the intellectual property status of a specific image documenting a work of art, a designed object, or a portion of the built environment. Understanding the presence or absence of rights in the various aspects of a given image will allow the user to make informed decisions regarding the intended educational uses of that image."

Image: RK Catch, Hagia Sophia, 2006. From Flickr, some rights reserved under a Creative Commons license.

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