Skip Navigation

           Donate Now
Join Now      Sign In

Standards & Guidelines » Intellectual Property


General References

The College Art Association recently completed a multiyear project to develop a Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in the Visual Arts. The Code is a set of principles addressing best practices in the fair use of copyrighted materials based on a consensus of opinion developed through discussions with visual-arts professionals. It is vital resource for everyone working in visual arts, including artists, art historians, museum professionals, and editors. Initiated by CAA in 2012, the multiyear effort has been led by the Code’s authors, Peter Jaszi and Patricia Aufderheide, professors of law and communication studies, respectively, at American University and the leading experts on the development of codes for communities that make use of copyrighted materials in their professional practices. The initiative was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional funding from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

An initial phase of this project resulted in Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities: An Issues Report, also by Aufderheide and Jaszi, with graduate fellows Bryan Bello and Tijana Milosevic. The report summarizes 100 interviews of art historians, artists, museum curators, editors, and publishers describing issues related to the use of third-party images in creative and scholarly work. The research was further informed by a CAA membership survey on fair use and a review of relevant literature and legal precedents.

An infographic, webinar series, and other material on fair use are available on the CAA website.

The College Art Association, through its Board of Directors, adopted two documents on fair use on February 26, 2012: Statement on the Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research, and Study and Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries. These guidelines add to the growing body of Standards and Guidelines adopted by the association to promote professional practice within the field. Vetted by legal experts and copyright scholars, these documents provide guidance to users of images for educational and scholarly purposes.

Visual Resources Association: Statement on the Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research, and Study (2011) addresses the use of images for teaching, research, publishing, and other academic work. The statement is based on the academic community’s longstanding practices of fair use, including the use of images in theses and dissertations, on the fair use legal canon.

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries (2012) describes common library practices affected by copyright and fair use jurisprudence. These best practice guidelines support librarians and library users in their understanding of copyright and fair use of materials in academic coursework and repositories.

The Good News about Library Fair Use (infographic)

Orphan Works: Statement of Best Practices (January 12, 2009; rev. June 17, 2009)
Society of American Archivists (SAA)

Well-intentioned Practice for Putting Digitized Collections of Unpublished Materials Online (May 28, 2010)
Online Computer Center Library (OCLC)

Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ Statement of Fair Use Best Practices for Media Studies Publishing (ca. 2009)
Society for Cinema and Media Studies

Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ in Teaching for Film and Media Educators Statement of Best Practices for Fair Use (2008)
Society for Cinema and Media Studies

Fair Use Principles for User Generated Video Content (2007) is endorsed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center for Social Media, School of Communications, American University, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, Washington College of Law, American University, Public Knowledge, Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, and the ACLU of Northern California.

Best Practices in the Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials in Music Scholarship (2010)
American Musicological Society

Studies, Resources, and Some Answers

Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (2013) is a green paper that calls for new public input on critical policy issues central to our nation's economic growth, cultural development, and job creation, issued by the Internet Policy Task Force of the US Patents and Trademarks Office’s Department of Commerce.

Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright, by Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011)

Association of Research Libraries, Copyright & Intellectual Property Policies