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Protection and Control of Museum Images in Education

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  1. Protection and Control of Museum Images in Education Straddling the Not-So-Bright Line Between Necessity and Infringement Christine L. Sundt, University of Oregon Copyright & Art Issues

  2. My Goals: • Provide background for academic practices • Look at museums’ educational goals • Examine the causes of conflict between practice and tradition, the law and museums • Offer ideas for expanding and promoting AAM’s educational mandate

  3. To teach To inspire To illustrate To supplement To review To enhance To display To share To promote To decorate Purpose and Uses of Images

  4. How images are acquired - • From artists/creators or galleries/agents • From museums • From vendors or licensors • From catalogs and books • By photographing on site • Through bequests and donations

  5. Museums as educational institutions • “Engage in active ongoing collaboration efforts with a wide spectrum of organizations and individuals who can contribute to the expansion of the museum’s public dimension.” (#6) • “Commit leadership and financial resources—in individual museums, professional organizations, and training organizations and universities—to strengthen the public dimension of museums.”(#10) • “Assert that museums place education…at the center of their public service roles.” (#1)

  6. The view from the trenches Art historical practices and traditions: The ties with museums and the Copyright Law

  7. Museums as responsible protectors • Access may be regulated by copyright but more often it is contract and/or property law that rules • The laws are complex and cumbersome – a bundle of rights and many generations of owners • Revenue issues take precedence over goodwill in the real world

  8. Where the law assists education • The constitutional mandate • Privileged use • Special exemptions • Codification of fair use • TEACH Act • Guidelines

  9. Where education and copyright collide • Limitations with exemptions • Creativity vs. preparedness • Images as integral entitles • Lawfully viable? • Cumbersome processes • Discord through criticism

  10. More collisions • Fair use is not warm and fuzzy • The public domain as the great unknown • The consequences of the K-12 ‘cut & paste’ curriculum • Appropriation as an expression of honor • Technology & the instant copy • Licensing and contracts • The disappearing public domain

  11. Educational scholarship: The facts • How much is actually ‘published’? • Scholarship IS mandated, not just an option • Color images are seldom possible in low-budget scholarly publications • An educator is unlikely to reap profits from scholarly publishing • Scholarly publishing is a ‘limited edition’ when compared to commercial publishing

  12. More facts • Small market + high costs = diminishing audience • Value added through scholarship should be properly compensated • Limitations on use are disproportionate to value derived from exposure and discourse • AAM’s educational mandate must be revisited

  13. The shrinking world of resources • Services being abandoned: • Slide sales • Bookstores • Lending libraries & collections • Digital is just another technology, not a replacement for everything • High costs associated with technology do not go away

  14. And still more shrinking… • Community outreach is replacing services to research and scholarship • When does control threaten access? • Usage rights are more complex under today’s laws • Images are proliferating on the Web, but the ‘look, but don’t touch’ rule can cause confusion and frustration

  15. Museums’ fears • Images will be lost forever if they are freely available • The promised revenue stream from images may never be realized • Museums will not be able to protect their interests and act responsibly • Attendance will suffer if images are too readily accessible

  16. Controls and balances • Piracy and any other unauthorized exploitations can and should be litigated • Fair use, especially in education, is not piracy, even though the user must ‘take’ something in order to use it • Images of artwork in the public domain should not be subject to the same controls as work still under copyright • Museums must work together to create an equitable & fair method for protecting their interests without disabling access for educators and scholars • The art ‘experience’ is still more thrilling than looking at a digital substitute

  17. A proposal to assist in requesting permissions – a ‘fair use’ test • Developed by Tom Bower, National Museum of American History, for the CAA/NINCH Copyright Town Meeting, Chicago, 2001 • Available for examination online at • Recently offered to the AAMD for review by Patricia Failing, Chair, Committee on Intellectual Property, College Art Association

  18. Final thoughts • Try to distinguish between true creativity and hard-core exploitation • Raise the bar for commercial uses to cover & eliminate costs for education and scholarship

  19. Order Today!

  20. And finally… • Re-examine the ‘Excellence and Equity’ mandates to look for ways to encourage access in the name of education even though some risk is involved.

  21. Links, News, and Views: Edited by Christine L. Sundt Email address:

  22. Credits • courses_homepage.html • An Art History lecture in the big lecture hall (JT 120) in Juomatehdas • photos/bobo_1_th.jpg Institute for Medieval Studies University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001 • • The Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute • • • Museum News advertisement: Maltbie, Women’s Museum