Digital Dissertations

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Digital Dissertations

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images and rights

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    A.L. McMichael

    Hi, all. This is an issue that Polly and Amy might be able to shed some light on. Do the same image rights and permissions apply to digital dissertation projects as to printed ones? And does making a dissertation open access affect these permissions in any way?

    For instance, the art history handbook says, “Students do not have to pay “rights and reproductions” fees for illustrations” (p 33) when depositing a hard copy of the dissertation. Here’s a page w/ a link for downloading the handbook:

    Does this mean that students don’t need to ask permission to publish images in the traditional dissertation deposit? And what about a digital dissertation element? For instance, I am making a database for part of my dissertation but am unsure what permissions (if any) I should ask for before making the images public. (They’re from a variety of sources: books, museum websites, photographs I took of monuments in Turkey, etc). Perhaps the issue here is whether a website is considered a “publication” or a “deposit” of the information?

    If you know of any precedents or guidelines, I would be grateful.
    Alice Lynn

    Amy Ballmer

    Hi Alice Lynn,

    According to the Visual Resources Association: Statement on the Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research and Study, reproductions of images in theses and dissertations (whether in print or electronic format) fall under the guidelines of Fair Use. So long as you are using the images for more than just illustration/aesthetic purposes (that is, you are making an intellectual argument or point) and if you provide attributions to the copyright owner (politeness) you are good.
    I think reading the entire statement is helpful, but dissertations are discussed specifically in section 6, pp.15-17 [17-19 in adobe reader]. Pay particular attention to the points made in the ‘principle’ and ‘suggestions’ sections

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    A.L. McMichael

    Thanks, Amy! This is incredibly helpful.

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