Copyright is a complicated topic for historical sewists and costumers, and one which is currently being widely discussed by historical costumers and by museums. I intend to write more about the subject in the future, but for the moment I will simply offer a list of links to articles on the subject which I have found helpful.
I will also take this opportunity to mention that concerns about copyright are the reason why my blog/site is not as full of pretty pictures as most historical costuming or reproduction sewing blogs/sites are. I would love to be able to include images of extant garments in museum collections and other types of images, but I hesitate to do so – even with full, respectful citations and source links, like many costumers do – because I am endeavoring to actually work in the museum field, and I would hate to start off by offending anyone. So there will be pictures of my own work, but for the time being, very few reference images. I do try to include as many links as possible though! I also collect a great many images on Pinterest, which I organized into a multitude of period-specific boards (in addition to various other non-costume-related boards).
There have been a number of excellent articles floating around the costume blogosphere on the subject of copyright and costume blogging. In (mostly) chronological order, here are a few I’ve found very helpful and informative:
- “Museum Photos and Taking Photos in Museums – Copyright, Fair Use, Public Domain“from the blog American Duchess, by Lauren Reeser. February 2, 2011.
- “The Can of Worms Department is Open for Business” from the blog Mode Historique, by Sarah Lorraine. March 27, 2011. About costume blogging etiquette and ethics, as well as citing sources, which touches on copyright.
- “Have You Hugged a Resource Today?” from the blog Stay-ing Alive: Historical Dress Adventures and Ramblings, by Abby. March 28, 2011. A response to the above; about citing sources, giving credit, and the perspectives of museum professionals on costume blogging.
- “This Post Brought To You By Finals-Induced Insomnia” from the blog Mode Historique, by Sarah Lorraine. December 1, 2011. About the importance of citing sources when posting images for costume research; less about copyright and more about usability, assisting other researchers, and giving credit.
- “An Introduction to Copyright for Bloggers, Especially Costume Bloggers” from the blog Trystan’s Costume Closet, by Trystan L. Bass. January 18, 2012. An excellent, comprehensive introduction to the subject.
- “Copyright and You” from the blog Mode Historique, by Sarah Lorraine. January 18, 2012. A response to Trystan.
- “Copyright for Costumers” from the blog Démodé, by Kendra Van Cleave. January 19, 2012. Another response to Trystan.
- “The Right to Display Public Domain Images: An introduction to copyright terms and a discussion of Bridgeman vs Corel” at EnglishHistory.net, by Marilee Mongello. Page last edited November 1, 2008. A long article that delves more deeply into the legal details.
- “Commons: When to Use the PD-Art Tag” on Wikimedia Commons. An article about the public domain policies on Wikipedia/Wikimedia, which functions as a good overview of the subject of public domain, copyright, and art.
Updated March 24, 2012.