By Dave Rodriguez
The doctrine of Fair Use is so foundational to the work of academic institutions that we often forget it’s even there. It’s like water to a fish–it sustains and surrounds us yet is so pervasive that its importance usually goes unacknowledged. Fair Use allows instructors to teach with copyrighted content, artists to integrate commercial products into their work, and authors and researchers to cite materials without the expensive and intensive labor of securing rights permissions. It is a bulwark against litigation and empowers those working on scholarly or creative projects the freedom to assimilate the past and contemporary cultural materials into new knowledge and aesthetics. Rachel Appel and Gabriel Galson sum up the importance of Fair Use succinctly as “an invitation to the sort of intellectual/artistic exchange that keeps our culture vibrant.”
Such an exchange is on full display in GIF it Up, first launched by the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) in 2014. This international contest and campaign calls on people to create lively and unique .gif artworks sourced from digital cultural heritage collections and, in turn, promotes awareness and activation of these collections to a variety of communities. Following this model, the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship has partnered with the Sunshine State Digital Network for GIF it Up, Florida!, a month-long event aimed at highlighting the unique collections of SSDN’s member institutions and “Florida focused” items that can be found in the greater DPLA. Our goal is simple: to get folks excited about Florida’s digital collections and encourage creative re-mix, mash-ups, and reimagining of the state’s cultural heritage.
We’ll be kicking off GIF it Up, Florida! with a 90-minute .gif making workshop hosted in the R&D Commons at FSU’s Strozier Library on 1 March. You are invited to attend in-person or via Zoom (more information and registration materials can be found here). In this workshop we’ll look at how to navigate the DPLA and identify rights statements, evaluate Fair Use, and walk-through a handful of methods using free and/or open-source tools for you to start creating GIFs that celebrate the Sunshine State. Please join us and Happy Fair Use Week!