Archlib Image Database


ArchLib image database copyright statement:

This database is intended for the use of NJIT students, faculty, and staff in support of teaching and learning. While many images are in the public domain or have been licensed for this use by its copyright holder, others are under copyright. The ArchLib asserts its Fair Use rights to these images (read below). Users should be aware that the copyright law of the United States (title 17 U.S. Code) governs the making of copies of copyrighted material. The person using this database is liable for any infringement.

Further, this database is not meant as a complete didactic tool in and of itself, and it should not be construed as a replacement for the much deeper analysis, description, and depiction published in books and magazines (many of which are available in the NJIT ArchLib).

Architecture Library invokes its Fair Use rights with respect to copyright images in its image database.

The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Author and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries (United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8).

It is important to note that the original intent of copyright was to promote science and arts. It was not meant to promote the maximizing of income for author and inventors. The framers of the constitution understood that information dissemination was important to the country and information should not be held hostage forever by rights holders. That is the framework from which our argument begins.

First, there is a long, unchallenged history of Fair Use rights applied toward analog slide collections. Cornell University has a 400,000 slide collection; Syracuse University has 300,000; Rice University has 210,000 (ACSA's Guide to Architecture Schools, 1998 ed.). Although the technology is different, the philosophy and aim is the same—an image collection is crucial for the serious study of architecture.

There are four factors which must be considered in deciding whether the use of copyright materials can be made under a Fair Use claim (section 107 of the copyright law). The Fair Use Doctrine is not a proscriptive set of factors with hard and fast rules. None of these factors alone is enough to tilt the balance of the argument for or against Fair Use. Instead, each of the four factors must be considered in light of the whole.

Purpose and character of the use: The intent of the image database is to support NJIT students, faculty, and staff in teaching and learning. It is a nonprofit, educational venture. The database is password protected to limit usage to its limited audience. These are factors that have historically been found to favor the argument for Fair Use of copyrighted materials.

Nature of the copyrighted work: The images are primarily documentary images of the plans and results of built works. The depictions are of limited creative expression. There is little unique about a photo of the façade of the Empire State Building. There is no copyright protection for "sweat of the brow" work (Feist Publications, Inc., v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 US 340, 349 (1991)). These are factors that have historically been found to favor the argument for Fair Use of copyrighted materials.

Amount and substantiality of the portion in relation to the copyrighted whole: The image database does not contain wholesale scanning of every image from a book. Nor does the image database contain any such text from books. While it is true that each image is scanned in its entirety and individual images can be copyrighted, common sense dictates that one cannot scan only part of a photograph. Its usability for teaching architecture would be rendered ineffective; visual arts studies require the display of the whole image. These are factors that have historically been found to favor the argument for Fair Use of copyrighted materials.

Effect of the use on the marketability of the copyrighted work: The image database is not meant to usurp the need for students to consult books in the library or to purchase their textbooks. There is no claim or intent to make the scanned images replacements for the continued purchase of commercially published library material. The resolutions of the images are not ideal for high quality printing. The image database is restricted to NJIT students, faculty, and staff so that commercial uses of the images is not compromised to other audiences. Lastly, since the works are cited for each image, this would actually stimulate commercial use of those works (e.g., book purchases, magazine subscriptions, (etc.). These are factors that have historically been found to favor the argument for Fair Use of copyrighted materials.

Importantly, Section 504(c)(2) of the copyright law provides for a reasonable good faith fair use defense. Employees of nonprofit educational institutions who make a reasonable, good faith judgement that their use of copyright works fall under the Fair Use provision cannot be held liable for statutory damages if such use is later found by a court to fall outside the Fair Use provision. This important section allows educators to exercise Fair Use without undue fear of prosecution and punishment.

Lastly, Fair Use is a right, not a privilege. The right is only good if it is used. Failure to confidently assert Fair Use rights will only lead to its decay. For all these reasons, we have found our use of these copyright images to fall within our Fair Use rights and we thus assert and exercise that right.