Display At Your Own Risk: An Experimental Exhibition of Digital Cultural Heritage

376 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2020

See all articles by Andrea Wallace

Andrea Wallace

University of Exeter School of Law

Ronan Deazley

Queen's University Belfast

Date Written: April 2016


Display At Your Own Risk (DAYOR) is a research-led exhibition experiment featuring digital surrogates of public domain works of art produced by cultural heritage institutions of international repute. The project includes a Gallery Exhibition as well as an open source version of that exhibition intended for public use (available at http://displayatyourownrisk.org).

The works featured in the exhibition were curated from the online collections of internationally renowned cultural institutions. The digital surrogate made available on the institution’s website was printed to the original dimensions of the underlying object. As most institutions claim copyright over the photographs they take of works in their collection, the institutions themselves were credited as the author and/or copyright owner of these digital surrogates where appropriate. Information about how the institution licenses the use of these surrogates – including information about pricing where relevant – was also included within the exhibition. The publication provides a range of perspectives on the various issues explored by the exhibition. These include, for example: the property status of digital surrogates; open access norms and digital collections; copyright exceptions across borders; and, the relevance of risk-based approaches to copyright compliance for both cultural institutions and the general public.

The exhibition is guided by a number of concerns. By printing the digital surrogate to the work’s original dimensions, it invites reflection on the nature and quality of the reproductions that institutions make available online in place of the material object within their care. It considers the meaning of concepts such as access, transparency and user engagement in an age where digital collections are becoming increasingly relevant. And it explores tensions inherent in the ownership and use of cultural heritage, as well as the validity of the authorial claims that institutions assert over these digital surrogates – surrogates that are often viewed as new and independent assets.

Keywords: Intellectual Property, Copyright, Open Access, Public Domain, Open GLAM, Cultural Heritage Law, Art Law, Digital Cultural Heritage

Suggested Citation

Wallace, Andrea and Deazley, Ronan, Display At Your Own Risk: An Experimental Exhibition of Digital Cultural Heritage (April 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3378193 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3378193

Andrea Wallace (Contact Author)

University of Exeter School of Law ( email )

Streatham Court
University of Exeter
Exeter, EX4 4QJ
United Kingdom

Ronan Deazley

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

25 University Square
Belfast, BT7 1NN

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