We believe that the pursuit and study of the arts and humanities is vital to the health of society at large. The arts reveal the cognitive power of the creative imagination and its ability to articulate essential truths about the human condition. The humanities, working to preserve and interpret the human record, demonstrate how critical thinking about the past, coupled with ethical and moral evaluation, can reveal the complex nature of the human experience.
We believe that a networked cultural heritage is a decided public good, one that should become a vital part of the digital infrastructure. We are excited by the intellectual and social potential of digital networking technology. We advocate a system by which people in all walks of life gain meaningful access to the text, objects, sounds and sights that form our global cultural heritage. By networking the materials held in thousands of collections, we could unlock the expressive power of cultural objects and their creators in a much richer and more rewarding way than ever imagined.
We believe in encouraging and enabling the creators, owners, stewards, researchers, teachers, students and perusers of global cultural heritage to work together, sharing their ideas, resources, experience and research. By doing so we will advance the goal of an integrated, distributed body of cultural material accessible to all.
NINCH considers advocacy to be an educational rather than a political activity. As a coalition of diverse associations and institutions, NINCH will therefore not take unilateral positions on legislative matters. By educating our members and others about cultural networking issues, NINCH creates a platform for discussion and action that is consonant with our declared core values. NINCH thus enables its members to actively participate in the evolution of the digital environment and encourages our constituents and the public to become engaged in the issues of networking cultural resources in a digital environment.
We believe in fairness and balance in the provision of access to digital works on the network; a balance between the rights of copyright owners and the public interest in broad access to cultural resources; a balance between our rights and responsibilities both as users of digital material and as creators or owners of such material.
Furthermore, we believe that an essential part of the system of access to cultural material is payment to the owners of copyright material in the form of profit or cost recovery. However, the “fair use” of copyrighted material for educational and other permitted activity, as well as other limitations and exemptions to the rights of copyright owners, is in the public interest and should be guaranteed in the digital environment.
We believe that copyright law, with its traditional balance between a guarantee of rights on the one hand and exemptions and limitations to those rights on the other, is a critical tool to achieve equitable access to cultural heritage information. Copyright law is the primary mechanism we have to safeguard the balance between private interest and public good.
We believe that the fair use exemption to copyright was and should continue to be an essential element of copyright law. Fair use, in enabling broad access to copyrighted works for educational purposes, fosters creativity and furthers the goal of copyright to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts.”
We believe that equitable access to a robust and well-maintained public domain of our cultural heritage is essential to the public good and the health of the cultural life of this nation and all nations.
We believe that access to digital cultural heritage resources should be ensured through continued, active preservation of such material, as well as through preserving its original form wherever possible.
AUTHENTICITY AND INTEGRITY OF MATERIAL
We believe that both the stewards and users of digital cultural heritage resources should do all that is necessary to ensure that cultural digital objects are authentic and retain their integrity.
We believe that respect for personal privacy should be incorporated into access and management systems for the control and tracking of networked copyright material.