Image permissions…

…are surprisingly taxing. I finally finished my grid of illustrations I would like to use in the book, where and how, copyright holders (where available) and how to contact them. I have currently earmarked around 50 images, most of which come from different sources. A great many are fairly straightforward – it’s clear whom the copyright holder is and their contact details are freely available on-line. I’ve contacted a good many of those already. More problematic are those that fall into two categories:

1) Works apparently in the public domain – in this case, propaganda posters and films from the Cultural Revolution. Certainly the former rarely have identified artists/designers or publishers. I don’t think intellectual property was a top priority in Maoist China! However, I will need to seek high resolution digital copies from various institutions around Europe. So, do they – the image holders – have copyright over the image? Or, can I use images freely, under ‘fair use’ rules?

2) Photographs, taken by me, in museums and galleries, where no particular works are the focus. Can I go ahead and use the image in my book? Or, do I need the written consent of the institutions concerned (we’re talking here about public museums that allow photography within their galleries as a matter of course)? If not, is it good etiquette to inform the museums anyway?

So taxing.

Anyway, the image list is done. I’ve identified several texts I want to read. I’ve thought about sections that will need additional research, where and when. I’ve signed up to attend a forthcoming conference (part of the Translating China project). I have received comments on a couple of my chapters. But I haven’t yet begun to revise the text.

I’m not exactly procrastinating – I’ve done a lot of important prep and admin towards this book – but I still haven’t got up the courage to sit down, read, annotate, re-work and revise.

I’ll get there eventually. Baby steps.

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