Friday, November 11, 2005

Obtaining copyright permission

I'm working with a client to help them prepare to apply for grants to do create a web site that will included digitized materials. The budget at this point is limited, so I'm working as quickly and efficiently as possible to get the minimum information they will need in order to outsource the entire project when funding becomes available.

One area that will need to be addressed is obtaining copyright permission to digitize some of the materials. Based on the few hours I had with the collection, I've suggested a few items to digitized including some where permission will be needed. However, I tried to selected materials where the copyright holder might easily be persuaded to give permission (or at least that is my hope). I have someone in mind who could do the leg work and contact the copyright holders which will be tedious work. This week I found a two-page article in Information Outlook (Oct. 2005, pp. 42-43) that talks about obtaining copyright permissions ("Enterprise-Wide Copyright Permissions"). The articles provides brief guidelines and an overview of the procedure that I think will be helpful to my client (likely as a refresher for them) and for the others that work on the project. [And a brief article is always easier for people to digest than a long in depth one.]

The article points to a document at Washington State University entitled "Getting Permission: Where and How?" which is a guide on obtaining permissions for various types of materials (e.g., music). Besides this article, the WSU web site has other useful information on copyright, so a good resource to bookmark.

When the client completes this project (assuming they do get funding), I hope they will write an article about it, or place lessons learned on the web site. I think people will be interested to know how it worked to outsource everything and how the resultant project impacted the institution.

1 comment:

Alastair Dunning said...

Laws for UK / European copyright obviously have differences from those in the US, but many of the issues in trying to find and clear copyright for digitisation remain the same.

One article published by the UK's Arts and Humanities Data Service focuses on the successful copyright strategy developed by two cultural heritage projects in the UK. The strategy also had some useful side-benefits in terms of gaining extra information about the material they were digitising.

This article is part of a larger set of copyright advice given by the Arts and Humanities Data Service.