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Fair Use Question of the Month: Images of Copyrighted Work

PaintingDear CMSI,

I found an acceptable-quality copy of the public-domain painting I need to illustrate a point in my new book. The same image is available from a museum, but the museum would charge me a permissions fee. Can I just use the copy I found for my book? Read more...

Visual Arts Fair Use Code Gains Endorsement

Another major organization has endorsed the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts: The Visual Resources Association (VRA), whose members manage image collections in higher education, museums and archives. 

The prestigious professional association was an early supporter of fair use in the visual arts, with guidelines on using images in teaching and research. Now, it will collaborate with the College Art Association to promote the Code, which CMSI helped to create. Read more...

Can Public TV and Indie Filmmakers Get Along?

At the University Film and Video conference in August, the challenging but rewarding relationship between indie filmmakers and public TV was celebrated—by pubtv insiders as well as indies.

 Panel on public TVAs filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz said in launching the panel discussion, indie filmmakers have a long and sometimes fractious history with public TV, and one that has resulted in more opportunities for makers and more diverse programming. In the 1980s, a decade of continuous and often contentious pressure—for more programming time for indies, who offer the most diverse perspectives and voices on public TV--created the documentary production public TV unit ITVS. Read more...

What makes a documentary durable?

Michael RabigerCILECT North America’s Docu-Day conference opened at American University with a manifesto-like volley from professor emeritus and field leader Michael Rabiger, who asked, “What makes a documentary durable?” His answer: Film art, featuring creative use of elements ranging fr Read more...

Fair Use Question of the Month: Digitizing Archives of Copyrighted Work


Dear CMSI,

I am part of a team in the special collections unit of my university library working on the recently acquired personal archive of a regional artist. We’re hoping to make the correspondence between the artist and various collectors and institutions digitally available. The archive came with a donor’s agreement allowing digital display, but there are a lot of items in the archive that are actually copyrighted to others. So what we want to know is, can we employ fair use here? If so, how?Read more...