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Image Use Protocol: IUP Goals (English)

Best practices for locating and using Japanese visual images for teaching, research, and publications


Created on January 22, 2007

The Image Use Protocol (IUP) Task Force of the NCC (The North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources) was established in January 2007 in response to requests from US faculty and graduate students for guidelines to locating, accessing and obtaining permission to use visual images from Japan in teaching, research and publications. The task force held its first meeting at Harvard University on August 29, 2007 when its members (faculty, librarians, publishers, and museum representatives) met for a day-long discussion of issues.

The task force concluded that there exists a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding among US scholars about the process and proper means of obtaining permissions to reproduce visual images for their publications from Japan. That confusion is due largely to a lack of understanding of the differing publishing environments in the two countries. The IUP Task Force therefore sets out: to educate North American scholars and students about the procedures for gaining permission to use visual images from Japan; to produce a simple set of guidelines for authors to use in gaining such permission; and to produce a set of bilingual templates for permission request letters that will be acceptable both to Japanese image rights holders and to US publishers of academic works.

Please note that the IUP's goal is to assist North American scholars in obtaining permission to publish visual materials in their work legally and smoothly. It is not the IUP's goal to propose change to current copyright laws.

To accomplish these goals the IUP Task Force seeks the input and advice of Japanese publishers and image rights holders in determining the best way to accomplish these goals through an ongoing collaboration with Japanese counterparts. During 2008 the task force proposes to do the following:

Document the Range of Problems Encountered by US Academics:

  • Survey users (via electronic lists) on specific problems personally encountered;
  • Compile data on the major image access problems among academic authors.

Develop a set of guidelines, "Best Practices for Accessing Visual Images from Japan":

  • Develop guidelines for locating and requesting images from Japan for teaching, research and publications;
  • Produce a set of templates for permissions letters requesting use of images;
  • Develop a list of contacts and links to important sites and organizations providing copyright guidelines and information about how and where to seek permission; and
  • Freely publish all relevant materials and links on the NCC Website, making it available to all.

Clarify the Differences in Publishing Environments between US Academic Publishing and the Publishing Industry in Japan:

Characteristics of US Academic Publishing:

  • US academic works are generally published by university presses and other primarily academic presses that typically issue small print runs (often averaging fewer than 750 books);
  • US academic authors are personally responsible for locating and covering the full costs of image rights for their publications;
  • US academic publishers require permission for images published in North American scholarly publications; American scholars are often required to obtain explicit permission to use those images from the Japanese rights holders even in cases where the display or reproduction of images would be viewed as "fair use" in publication or teaching done in Japan.
  • As a rule academic authors make little or no financial profit from their publications; and
  • The audience for US academic works is largely research libraries and student and faculty readers. Therefore US academic publications aim at educating the educators who provide higher education about Japan, rather than at making a profit.

Characteristics of Japanese Publishing Environment:

  • In Japan there are fewer primarily academic presses than in the United States; it is much harder to differentiate between academic and popular publishers;
  • Often Japanese scholars publish for a wider, or more popular audience than in the US;
  • Japanese publishers undertake the responsibility of gaining permissions and paying fees for image use on behalf of their authors;
  • Images that accompany scholarly text in Japanese publications may be exempt from permissions requirements in some cases, given different understandings of "fair use" in Japan.

IUP's goals for the coming year:

  • To promote proper understanding of copyright laws involving the use of image reproduction;
  • To clarify these differences in publishing environments to both academic writers in the US and the Japanese publishing community;
  • To encourage image owners in Japan to recognize the difference between American academic publishing and publishing in Japan;
  • To help Japanese image owners to realize the social benefits of the publication of Japanese images in American academic publications;
  • To promote the notion that developing a special rate of reduced educational or academic image permission fees would facilitate cultural understanding and international relations through the expansion of Japanese knowledge abroad;
  • To attain its goals the task force seeks the input and advice of relevant Japanese institutions and will ask their comments on the IUP materials drafts;
  • Prior to publishing of the IUP Best Practices for Access and Publication of Japanese Images (and its accompanying materials) IUP seeks the endorsement of leading Japanese organizations in the publishing and image producing fields.

The field of Japanese studies increasingly relies on visual images as tools for education in North America. Through images students and scholars are offered an unparalleled insight into Japanese history, society, and culture. The Image Use Protocol Task Force therefore asks you to collaborate with us in our endeavor to educate our community about the protocol for obtaining access to, and permission for using, visual images from Japan to strengthen Japanese studies in North America.

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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