An unfortunate part of working with digital collections and other visual resources is dealing with copyright. While we can’t answer specific questions, we can provide you with some resources that may help steer you in the right direction. Here are a couple:
Recently Nancy Sims, the copyright program librarian at the University of Minnesota, was on campus to talk about copyright and academia. As both a lawyer and a librarian, her voice on such matters is highly valued. Back in May of this year she was interviewed by Jennifer Howard of the Chronicle of Higher Education, with the resulting article being called “What you don’t know about copyright, but should.” The article reads as a bulleted list of pointers about copyright, and provides much food for thought.
Not too long after the Chronicle of Higher Education published the article about Nancy Sims, it came out with another copyright article written by Jeffrey R. Young about fair use in education. Called “Pushing back against legal threats by putting fair use forward,” it features two scholars at American University—Patricia Aufderheide, a film-studies professor, and Peter Jaszi, a law professor. The two professors recently published a book titled Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright, which deals with what they call misperceptions about the fair-use rules of U.S. copyright law. This is not the first time Aufderheide and Jaszi have worked together; since 1996 they have been researching fair use and publishing guidelines for different types of creative work, such as documentary filmmaking. While I haven’t read the book, it sounds like it could be a great read on a complex topic.