In many jurisdictions, there are specific privacy laws that address the
rights of patients to control access to *any* information about them,
whether identifying or not, and requirements that any use of patient
information, whether anonymized or not, must be done with the consent of
the patient unless specifically legislated.  This has nothing at all to do
with copyright.  A surprisingly large number of studies, tissue samples,
and so on *are* actually pretty easily identifiable.  In many cases,
patient consent is required in order to use information for research or
educational purposes; those participating in research have to sign fairly
extensive consent agreements that often include a clause about how their
information will be shared.

I'd suggest practitioners themselves ought to be quite cautious before
uploading such images, and ensure that they have had a very specific
discussion with their institution, and received *in writing* authorization
for uploading.  It is spectacularly wonderful that the physicians amongst
us have such a strong desire to educate, and it would be horrible if
someone lost privileges at their institution (and possibly their
license) over such a benevolent gesture. Don't just call your professional
association - have the discussion with the institution, and get things in
writing and actively pursue an institutional policy on the educational use
of medical images.


On 17 September 2013 09:21, Nathan <> wrote:

> Maybe they don't own the images outright from a legal perspective, but
> certainly ethics (and particularly medical ethics) is moving in the
> direction of securing permission from the subject of the images before
> they are used for purposes other than treatment. Documenting this kind
> of permission in a format like Commons is going to be tough, but that
> could be resolved with a policy of only using images published by an
> organization known to pursue permission where feasible.
> On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 9:15 AM, Mathias Schindler
> <> wrote:
> > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 1:06 PM, James Heilman <> wrote:
> >> My concern is that if we are going to be both super cautious and assume
> >> that X-rays are copyrightable than we will need to get permission from
> all
> >> 9 potential copyright holders (ordering physician, patient, radiologist,
> >> hospital, government, X-ray tech, machine manufacturer, software
> >> programmer and the Queen of English in my jurisdiction, shareholders of
> >> hospitals in other jurisdictions).
> >
> > Out of the 9 categories of potential copyright holders, we should be
> > able to eliminate patients as they are not an active part of the
> > creation process and there is no transfer of copyright to them.
> >
> > Mathias
> >
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