July 2009
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Images and IPR

One afternoon last week, when it was (yet again) raining, one of my flow charts hit the murky waters of images and IPR. Neither of us have been the same since.

As I’m sure many have noted, Images and IPR means looking at:

  • Who created the image
  • Where the image was created (from inside or outside a building for photos, to where-in-the-world)
  • When the image was created
  • The type of image – photography, illustration, film still, graphic, composite (and where all is static; leaving ‘animated anything’ for a braver moment) 
  • What the image is of (exciting subnest of IPR there)
  • Whether it’s an adaptation of a previous image
  • Whether, if it already has a creative commons licence or is listed on a website as public domain, it is actually entitled to that status
  • Whether it is already licensed for use by a third party
  • Probably some other things I’ve missed and will realise at 3am

Initially I thought to work my way through our most likely scenarios, but it quickly became obvious that there are simply too many to document an advance protocol for each one.

So – some blanket decisions were made:

  • that images from sites like Wikipedia will not be embedded, even if listed as public domain, because we can’t verify their status. We will however be able to link to them.
  • that for the most part, images will not be used at all unless they were created by an employee during the course of their employment (again, we can link to websites containing other images that fall outside this category).

This simplifies things a little. For the rest, we’ve decided to tackle scenarios as we meet them.

On that basis, yesterday we had a discussion about obtaining rights from museums to use images (taken by an employee) of the museum’s artifacts (not art works) within our OERs. It was decided that we do not need any form of licence-in for this – as long as we have confirmation from the museum, in writing (even as an email), that they are happy for us to use the image of the artifact for non-commercial educational purposes, then we can use it for OER.

It was also decided that if an academic wishes to use a video or image that has been produced by an employee but which contains identifiable people for whom they do not have model release, then in most cases we will not be able to use these simply because we do not have the resources to chase model release, unless the image is of (for example) one student who’s still at the University and easy to contact.

There will, sure as rain, be more of this anon…

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