|Title:||Ad* access: seeking copyright permissions for a digital age.|
|Citation:||Pritcher, L., 2000. Ad* access: seeking copyright permissions for a digital age.|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||This article details the process of digitising a collection of advertisements for an online publicly available database in the United States. The project processed 7,307 advertisements in total, from 1910 to 1960.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
This article is a case study, detailing the decision-making process for digitising a large collection of advertisements that fell within the period since 1923 and therefore likely subject to copyright.
Creating access to digital images of historic documents, images, and maps is a vital service that many libraries and archives are providing for their patrons, local and international. And with most on-line collections, web visitors are able to see the items while using enhanced searching and browsing capabilities to find them. This capability expands the usability of the on-line collections in ways traditional finding aids and box lists cannot match. There is a wealth of interesting and helpful material in most libraries - and as long as items are truly historic (19th Century and before) and without literary or copyright claims, the process of creating online collections is straightforward. Find the items, scan them, provide access: more primary resources on the web (though the process is a little more complicated than that). Creating an online resource for more recent historical documents (i.e., created or published less than 78 years ago) adds another large layer of difficulty to the task. The Digital Scriptorium at Duke University creates on-line projects for a variety of collections, ranging from ancient papyri to 20th-Century photography. For the most part, everything that has been made available by the Scriptorium has either been out of copyright or, in the case of the photos, the library owns the copyright to the items themselves. The Ad*Access project, however, presented an entirely new challenge. Ad*Access, an on-line database, gives researchers around the world images and information for more than 7,000 advertisements printed primarily in U.S. newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955. It is the collaborative effort of the Digital Scriptorium and the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History. Generously supported by the Duke Endowment "Library 2000" Fund, Ad*Access was created using materials in the J. Walter Thompson Company Competitive Advertisements Collection. The vast majority of the advertisements chosen for this project were created and published after 1923. Clearly beyond the copyright-free zone, the library had to answer the question of whether the pursuit of copyright permission was necessary, as the project was created by an educational institution for research and study. In other words, did the project fall within fair use? This article describes how that decision was made and the implications of that decision. The author includes citations from copyright law and other resources dealing with intellectual property and fair use. The author, however, is NOT a lawyer, and does not purport to offer legal advice in any way. The emphasis of the article is to describe our project's efforts in resolving the question of copyright for Ad*Access.
Main Results of the Study
The development of copyright law in relation to the Internet and image archives is still that: developing. If and when the courts are presented with test cases in this area, the clarified understanding of fair use in connection with web-based archival collections will hopefully allow an increase in the exhibits of items still within copyright. Until that point, the experience gained from the Ad*Access project assists in the consideration of other on-line exhibits to be produced by the Digital Scriptorium at Duke University.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The ambiguity of the copyright status of the advertisements being digitised meant how to proceed with the project was unclear. The advertisements in Ad*Access may never have been covered under copyright. The items may have been viewed by their creators as ephemeral and not worth registering with the Copyright Office; therefore, the pursuit of permissions for this project may not have been entirely legally necessary. The goodwill and positive responses generated by our communications with the many companies, however, was worth the time and effort of the process. The Hartman Center interacts with hundreds of companies which use the Center's resources. Engendering a negative name within this community would be counterproductive. Additionally, the two fundamental exclusive rights of copyright, i.e. the reproduction right and the representation right, remain operative; yet the way in which they now interact and accumulate in a networked environment is undeniably uncharted legal territory.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Advertisements|
|Period of material under study:||1910 to 1960|