Vol. IX, No. 4

February, 1997

Protecting Electronic Images

Using electronic images is becoming more common, but there are many concerns about copyright issues. Indeed, attempts to define copyright in the electronic marketplace are still proceeding, and academic and professional organizations have been trying to encourage rules that do not unnecessarily limit fair use in academic environments.

Although rights to fair use seem to be in some jeopardy, a new commercial offering may help with this problem (see Luisa Simone, "Digital Watermarks," PC Magazine, February 18, 1997, p. 30). A new program hides code containing information in the image file. The code lies "within the random variation normally found in a scanned picture" so that, when an image is opened, that information is displayed. Information can include an author's name, copyright permissions, and the like. The producer of the software, Digimarc Corp. (Portland, Oregon) says the information will remain with the image file even if it has been cropped or edited in other ways. The presence of the information cannot prevent people from improperly using an image, but it will prevent innocent misuse - and the claim thereof.

For other Newsletter articles concerning the use of electronic media in the humanities, consult the subject index.

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