It is the position of the editorial board of the Virtual Mesoamerican Archive (VMA) to adhere to -- and encourage our users to uphold -- copyright law and fair use guidelines. We aim to discourage the illegal copying of images that we reproduce herein by keeping them small and of a low resolution. The VMA as a whole, its texts, and its images are protected under the copyright laws of the United States and the Universal Copyright Convention. We ask you to adhere to the terms under which these materials are made available. The Library of Congress provides useful information on copyright at http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/, and you may read about the fair-use doctrine at http://fairuse.stanford.edu/rice.html. The copyright to the VMA website is held by the Wired Humanities Project at the University of Oregon. The Repositories database includes materials harvested from the Internet and from published reference works, such as the Handbook of Middle American Indians (University of Texas Press). The Scholars' Sites and the Digitized Materials databases draw exclusively from the Internet.
The copyright to the images is held by the institutions and individuals who have generously contributed them. All images are presented with their corresponding copyright information. Publication (print or electronic) or commercial use of any of the copyrighted materials without direct authorization from the copyright holders is prohibited. The copying of materials from the VMA is permitted only under the fair-use provisions of copyright law. All our contributors are agreeable to the use of these images for individual study and research and for use in teaching.
You do not need to request our permission to link to the VMA. We do prefer that your link be to our home page, where all users will have access to our rights and editorial policies.
By accessing the VMA, you acknowledge that you have read and accepted all of these conditions.
Cultural Property Rights
Most of the materials linked by the VMA may be considered items to which indigenous groups will have a claim, even if they are no longer the stewards of these materials. We believe that repatriation is a legitimate issue and one that should be considered whenever appropriate and possible. Please see the definition of repatriation and the associated discusion on the website of the National Museum of the American Indian.
The same website offers a thoughtful statement about human remains, their treatment and disposition. We will be glad to consider requests from the relevant community to omit links to specific materials originating from that community if their display is causing concern.
Looting and Collecting
It is the position of the editorial board of the Virtual Mesoamerican Archive that we do not wish to be a part of the chain that feeds the looting of archaeological sites, destroying the integrity of sites, pulling pieces out of historical context, and robbing the descendents of ancient cultures of their heritage materials. We can envision a process whereby our linking to materials of questionable provenance indirectly feeds looting, particularly when such materials are held by collectors who have acquired them from questionable sources. Therefore, we are not currently linking to private collections. Of course, not all collectors are inscrutable, and many or most repositories around the world may hold pieces that were acquired from unquestioning collectors, whether through donation or purchase. Because we do not have the resources to research the provenance of pieces held by museums or archives, and because there would be little left to study without the inclusion of such materials, we have decided to link to established institutions. But we strongly advocate that repositories maintain a transparency about the origins of their collections so that students of Mesoamerica can follow a path of conscience when choosing (or not) to study certain materials.
It is the position of the editorial board of the Virtual Mesoamerican Archive that our users must beware of the possibility that materials with links herein may be fakes, forgeries, or fraudulent creations, being passed off as legitimate pre-Columbian or Spanish-Colonial antiquities. We do not have the resources to research the thousands of items included herein in order to determine their legitimacy. Some pieces we include are clearly identified as fakes, and these we leave in for the benefit of study.