Copyrights…annoying people since forever.

Copyright issues can be a scary thing to deal with when it comes to research and/or presentations whether it be for digital history or not. Thankfully when working with my project materials I don’t necessarily have to deal with copyright problems because I am using newspapers from over 100 years ago. However, there are some things that I am allowed to use but also that I don’t want people to take from my website without giving credit for it.

My project will deal with a lot of newspaper articles. Those are easy to find online and elsewhere and, therefore, it does not bother me if other people use those for their research and other things. There is one illustration, however, that I am weary of people stealing for their own use. It is a picture from a French magazine illustrating the “Ritual Sacrifice” that was an explanation of the ax murders at the time. This image is not easily obtainable online (even if you google it it doesn’t come up). I didn’t realize the problem that I was facing until I read “Owning the Past.” They describe the love hate relationship that web users have with copyright laws through their example of the book on buying/selling a house. On one end the book describes to sellers to be weary of buyers and on the other end it tells buyers to be weary of the sellers. I have to use the copyright laws to my benefit so people don’t use the picture without giving credit but I also have to fight the laws in order to use the picture in the first place. It can be very frustrating to deal with.

When looking for a copyright law to use for my project I am torn between a few things. Should I allow user to alter the images? Should I allow for commercial uses? Since I am the first person to put this picture out in public I am nervous to pick the wrong copyright law. Nervous me wants to not let people edit and also not let people use it commercially, to do this I would use the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license. The me that wants everyone to love and use my website want to allow all the things to happen like the Attribution license allows. I’m still not sure which one I will use. I’ll probably have to consult the person who gave me the image to see which license he is comfortable with using.

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I am a graduate student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette studying Public History.

6 thoughts on “Copyrights…annoying people since forever.”

  1. First of all, I am excited to see this image. I understand your hesitancy in not wanting others to use something so close to you. In a few years when your project has reached monumental status, if a student wants to use that image for educational purposes, but reinterprets it in a way that you do not disagree with, what would be your thought process on handling a situation like this?


    1. I guess I’m more worried about the image not being used in the correct way. Once I’m rich and famous from this website and a student wants to use it in a proper format and context, I would have no problem with allowing that.


  2. Is it a disturbing thing that I am looking forward to seeing how your project comes out? I wonder if you are familiar with the channel ID!

    I love old newspaper articles. One particular facet I enjoy is juxtaposing what I am researching with other items surrounding it, especially the prices and “look” of old things. Or the way something is presented that would never be presented that way today. Or world events at that time. Not that you have all the time in the world to play with this semester, but I wonder how your project would be enhanced or worsened if you included a surrounding item or two to supplement your focus, an item or two that inherently has zero to do with the axe murders. Perhaps even for some comic relief. I don’t know, I’m just speaking from experience in researching an old football coach from the 1970s. It was fascinating to see things like ads and world events that were taking place in the midst of, say, his lone state championship season.

    I’m glad I am not the only one wondering which license is best. Keep thinking. You’ll figure it out. 🙂


    1. Yea I watched Discovery ID all the time when I had cable. Now I watch crime documentaries and series on Netflix and Hulu.
      I know what you mean about the juxtaposition. My 505 paper dealt a lot with newspaper articles and how the KKK was being called out for a crime in some articles while being praised for charity work in others. These articles would often be within the same newspaper, on the same page. It was quite an interesting to see the difference and was also a reason that some people were probably so confused back in the day.


  3. I’m feeling some of the same hesitations that you are, Abbie. In order to use my pictures on StoryMap, I need to first post them onto Flikr. I need to go double check with the UL archives and make sure that this is okay to do. I’m interested to hear what everybody thinks about Open Access and copyright tonight.


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