Also see this related story, in English: Christine von Oertzen, New Ways of Using Digital Images, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, undated. Excerpt:
...Among scholars in the humanities, interest in visual sources will continue to grow. For this reason, we must ensure that researchers and curators work together to secure scholarly access well into the future. At museums, libraries, and other image repositories, financial considerations limit scholars’ access to digital media. Budget pressures have led many libraries, museums, and archives to charge substantial fees for the right to use digitized media – and this despite the fact that the original objects in question are often no longer covered by copyright. Other institutions have ceded the entire processes of digitization and marketing to commercial image providers. This for-profit approach to digital cultural heritage circumscribes scholars’ use of historical image collections. Precisely at the moment that new e-publishing practices are beginning to change the nature of scholarship itself, researchers face soaring costs for the rights to use digital cultural resources.
...Access to unique historic objects, images, or texts – cultural heritage – is only rarely a copyright issue. Access to cultural heritage is first and foremost a contractual matter. As such, access to cultural heritage is inherently negotiable. When repositories impose excessive fees on scholars, with reference to copyright they may not be operating within the boundaries of the law. In any event, by restricting access and use they are limiting in unforeseen ways the scholarly potential of digital cultural media....
Until recently, efforts to address this new digital divide between researchers and curators assumed the form of scholarly initiatives to secure open access to visual sources. One of the most important of these initiatives is European Cultural Heritage Online, launched by our Institute and supported by the European Commission. Today, a number of prominent museums are demonstrating a renewed willingness to take into account the particular needs of scholars, exploring new ways to reconcile scholarship with stewardship. Several institutions have recently begun to provide researchers free-of-charge access to some of their digitized collections....
In January 2008, our Institute brought together a small group of scholars, curators, publishers, and other stakeholders to reflect on the state of affairs described above. In light of our discussions, we feel strongly that further restrictions on scholars’ access to, and use of, digital image collections must be prevented....Researchers must be prepared to share in the cost of digitization, e.g., to pay reasonable fees for the media they need to complete their studies.
Following the January 2008 gathering of experts, our Institute, with input from all participants, drew up a set of recommendations to improve scholars’ access to digital media. This document calls upon curators and scholars to enter into a new relationship to promote mutual trust and common interests. The aim of our compact is to address the pressing challenges raised by our digital present and future. We request that curators refrain from arbitrarily restricting the public domain. We further ask our colleagues in libraries, museums, and other repositories to accommodate the needs of scholars for freely accessible, high-resolution digital images. This request concerns not only print publications, but also new forms of electronic publishing....
Peter Suber at 1/16/2009 02:59:00 PM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.