As per my last post, I just finished a Renaissance Photoshop art project with 6th graders where we located digital images of Renaissance paintings from ARTstor‘s online digital gallery and then used Photoshop to layer themselves into the painting. During the course of the 3-day project, we had discussions about copyright, fair use, and public domain. We talked about how the Mona Lisa and all the other works we were altering are in the public domain, and our contributions to the original paintings were copyrightable.
I said that there were two possible hiccups preventing us from going forth and copyrighting our art: Our digital images of the paintings came from http://ARTstor.org, and the hardware/software we used is owned by Columbia University. Because I hate being ignorant and I love being right, I contacted ARTstor to find out if we could convince ourselves that we owned our altered image. I spoke to Cassy Juhl, a User Services Associate, who conferred with ARTstor’s lawyers and emailed me a few days later. Essentially, we can access/view/use images from ARTstor for academic and non-commercial purposes because Columbia University subscribes to their service. However, since ARTstor does not own the images in their digital collection, they can’t authorize manipulation of the files. I reminded the kids that ignorance is a terrible excuse for doing something unethical; Since we now know that we can’t use ARTstor’s images for this project, we cannot further ignore and abuse their Terms and Conditions of Use.
So, my latest idea is to generate our own collection of digital images of works of art at The School at Columbia University. Tons of museums allow no-flash photography, so I (or my students) can just gather our own photos of public domain art that we can then freely alter. As per the Mona Lisa, I’ll either have to elbow through the throngs of tourists at The Louvre this summer to take the best possible photo of her or establish a contact that can offer us a fair use copy.
Below is Cassy’s response that I shared with my 6th graders:
Dear Karen,Thank you for your phone call. After looking into your question regarding ownership of an altered image and I have a response for you. The ARTstor Terms and Conditions of Use ( http://www.artstor.org/our-organization/o-pdf/terms-conditions.pdf ) prohibit the modification of ARTstor images.Specifically, see Section 6:
Prohibited Uses. You may not: (a) use the ARTstor Digital Library, or use, display or make performances with, reproduce, or distribute Content from the ARTstor Digital Library, for any commercial purpose whatsoever, including but not limited to fee-for-service use of the ARTstor Digital Library, or make any use, display, performance, reproduction, or distribution that exceeds or violates these Terms and Conditions of Use; (b) distribute and/or make available Content in the ARTstor Digital Library to persons other than as expressly permitted herein; (c) provide and/or authorize access to the ARTstor electronic database, such as through the sharing of passwords, to persons or entities other than Authorized Users; (d) download or print, or attempt to download or print, substantial portions of the ARTstor Digital Library; (e) incorporate Content into print or electronic materials that are for purchase or are disseminated for commercial purposes (such as by a scholarly or commercial press); (f) use (including reproduce, distribute, display or make performances of) the ARTstor Digital Library in any way that is not authorized under this Agreement and that infringes another’s Intellectual Property Rights therein; (g) make any adaptation or modification of, or any derivative work from, Content; or (h) attempt to override, circumvent, or disable any encryption features or software protections employed in the ARTstor Digital Library.ARTstor does not own any of the images in the Digital Library and as such we are unable to broker rights for said images. We are only able to offer high quality images because our contributors provide images to be used for the very specific uses outlined in our Terms and Conditions of Use.Please feel free to contact us with any further questions or concerns.Kind regards,Cassy Juhl___________________________________________Cassy JuhlUser Services AssociateARTstor