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Copyright and Technology: Digital Rights Management in the Field

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Marking the publication of CHIN’s Museum Guide to Digital Rights Management, this Fall, panelists will address some of the report’s key questions and themes, including:

  • how technology is assisting in clarifying the rights status of museum objects and their images
  • how digital asset management systems (DAMs) are increasingly supplementing the work of the CMS in managing the rights of museum objects and images;
  • how Internet and rights management technologies are influencing museum policy regarding the display and sharing of images of museum objects; and
  • how museums are using watermarking and other digital protection measures to ensure certain work is not copied or shared in inappropriate or illegal ways, or to prevent misuse.


Session Info


  • Type: Full Panel
  • Keywords: copyright, IP, new technologies, digital rights management, DAM, digital asset management, DRM, policy, images, CMS, collections management
  • Relevance: Demonstrate available technologies and relevant policy issues for discussion of discovery, documenting and managing the rights for reproducing and re-using images of collections for public use. Interaction of technology's potential for making rights transparent and for enabling free or mediated access to public domain and copyright-protected work. Audience should include copyright/rights officers, registrars, policymakers, systems planners.


Panel sponsored by the Intellectual Property SIG


Moderator: Anne-Marie Millner, Manager, Professional Development and Digital Resource Management, Canadian Heritage Information Network



David Green, Principal, Knowledge Culture Consulting

Alan Newman, Chief, Digital Imaging & Visual Services, National Gallery of Art

Darci Vanderhoff, Chief Information Officer, The Phillips Collection

Deborah Wythe, Head of Digital Collections and Services, Brooklyn Museum


Copyright: Management & Policy 

For effective participation in 21st-Century culture, much of which is being played out via the Internet, museums need to be clear to themselves and to their communities about the IP rights they own or can obtain. Effectively managing the IP rights to the objects in their collections and derivative media can enable museums to more confidently distribute and broadcast them (and to be sure about when not to do so) - as well as to cover some of their costs by licensing their IP for commercial use. Through more effective IP management, museums could have faster and more accurate answers to questions such as: Which images on museum websites can visitors legally re-use and which can they not? Can museums effectively protect images from illegal use, or from “inappropriate” re-use, through watermarking and other technologies – and should they? 


Digital technologies afford us tools to share, manage, and protect images of works in museums’ collections but their deployment hangs on the clear definition of a museum’s policy towards sharing and/or protecting images.


Copyright Technology

New technologies can help manage IP with the careful planning of workflow and the wise deployment of collection management systems, digital asset management systems and other digital rights management tools. How effectively are such tools being used for managing rights? To what extent are museums using tools such as Creative Commons licenses to educate their visitors about legal and appropriate reuse? What is the impact of Flickr, Facebook and other social networking websites on museums’ image policies? 


How are these systems helping and what are the technologies of the future that will most effectively assist in managing and protecting images of the objects in museums’ care?


To celebrate the publication this Fall, by the Canadian Heritage Information Network, of the Museum Guide to Digital Rights Management, this panel addresses some of the key questions and themes of the book.



Panelist Bios


David Green, Principal, Knowledge Culture Consulting.

 David Green is principal of Knowledge Culture Consulting, whose recent clients include the Mellon Foundation, the Canadian Heritage Information Network, the International Foundation for Art Research, the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education, and Wesleyan University. He was Senior Researcher and Solutions Strategist at Learning Worlds Inc., a New York innovation and communications agency (2008-2009), and is currently project manager for the NSF-funded Learning Worlds, "Arts-Based Learning in the Sciences" initiative (2010-2012). Recent publications include "What Good are Artists?" (Journal of Business Strategies), "Digital Technologies And The Management Of Conservation Documentation in Museums" (Mellon, 2009), “Things To Do While Waiting For The Future To Happen: Building Cyberinfrastructure For The Liberal Arts” (with Michael Roy, Educause Review, July/August 2008), Cyberinfrastructure and the Liberal Arts (ed), Academic Commons (December 2007), and i-Quote, Globe Pequot, 2007. From 1996 to 2003, he was the founding executive director of the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage, publisher of The NINCH Guide to Good Practice in the Digital Representation & Management of Cultural Heritage Materials. David has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Brown University and an Advanced Certificate in Management and Systems from NYU.


Anne-Marie Millner, Manager, Professional Development and Digital Resource Management

Canadian Heritage Information Network

Anne-Marie directs the creation and delivery of CHIN professional development resources for museum professionals. Her team provides products, services and guidelines for this purpose, including: collections and intellectual property information, data and interoperability standards, online learning tutorials, access to experts and communities of practice. These resources are developed both in house, through partnerships with other heritage organizations, and through research by subject matter experts. As the manager of professional development at CHIN, Anne-Marie manages the Professional Exchange, http://www.chin.gc.ca/English/Knowledge-Exchange/index.php, an online space where museum professionals can learn about the latest technologies and share information with their colleagues. The Exchange provides museum professionals the necessary tools for skills acquisition and Anne-Marie is constantly looking for new avenues, both domestic and international, to improve learning opportunities and skills acquisition for museum workers. 

Alan Newman, Chief, Digital Imaging & Visual Services, National Gallery of Art

At the National Gallery of Art (NGA), Alan Newman led the conversion of analog photography studios and labs into a full service digital imaging facility. He now oversees the creation, quality control, storage, distribution, and preservation of all photographs and digital images and associated image metadata of the Gallery’s permanent collection, exhibition images and other related image collections. He also develops permissions policies and manages the rights to use art images and other NGA intellectual property for publication, study, art collection documentation, educational programs, promotional activities, and marketing materials. He represents MCN on the boards of UPDIG (Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines) and PLUS (Picture Licensing Universal System). Previously, Alan was Executive Director of the Imaging Department at The Art Institute of Chicago (1985-2004), where he headed a department of photographers, archivists, digital imaging, image rights, computer graphics and audio-visual specialists. He directed major educational multimedia projects and won three national first prizes for new media from the American Association of Museums. Alan has taught photography at a number of colleges and universities including the New School and Pratt Institute in New York, and exhibited his photographs widely. His work is represented in a number of museum collections, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.


Darci Vanderhoff, Chief Information Officer, The Phillips Collection

Darci Vanderhoff oversees all information operations at the Phillips, and is responsible for the development, implementation, and administration of an integrated computer information system.  Ms. Vanderhoff supervises the digitization of museum objects, manages Web site operations and the use of emerging technologies (APP, audio tours, wireless, video projects, kiosks, etc.).   Ms. Vanderhoff was responsible for the design of the information plan for the museum’s renovation and expansion, completed in 2006, resulting in Cisco Systems nominating her for consideration in the International Computerworld Honors Program in June 2005 where she was selected as a finalist in the category of Media, Arts and Entertainment.  Ms. Vanderhoff joined the Phillips in 2001 and possesses over 18 years of experience in the area of information systems administration in both non-profit and for-profit environments.


Deborah Wythe, Head of Digital Collections & Services at Brooklyn Museum

Deborah Wythe manages the Brooklyn Museum’s Digital Collections and Services department (the “Digital Lab”), coordinating digital imaging activities museum-wide, including the photo studio, scan lab, digital asset management, and rights and reproductions. Before moving to the Digital Lab, Deb was the Museum Archivist, where she managed the Museum’s historical records and worked on several technology-driven projects. Deb edited the new edition of Museum Archives: An Introduction, published by the Society of American Archivists in 2004, and wrote the chapters on the museum context, appraisal, description, records surveys, and photographs. Prior to joining the Brooklyn Museum staff, she worked on the Steinway Collection at the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives and, as an intern, organized the records of the Department of Musical Instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In her previous life, before discovering archives work (she has always been a museum maven), Deb earned her Master’s and PhD in musicology at NYU. She still studies the piano.



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