Friday, 29 July 2011

Copyright breakout session - Thursday 14 July (afternoon session)

Copyright breakout session with Tim Padfield (National Archives) and Peter Hirtle (Cornell University Library)

The format of this breakout session was question and answer, both questions we were asked to think about beforehand and anything that may have come up during Tim and Peter's earlier copyright talks. Questions included the following:

Q: Is the display of the literary content of books allowed in a library?
A: No, this is not allowed! But there are very few challenges to this. A notable exception was James Joyce's son Stephen, who ended Bloomsday anniversary exhibition plans by not allowing a display of different editions of Ulysses. It should be noted that this relates to copyright in literary works, and it is likely that this wouldn't apply to artists' books, as the content is an artwork itself and would be treated like any other display of artwork.

Q: How do you figure out if a work is within copyright?
A: Tim Padfield distributed a handout with a flowchart of copyright issues and how they would determine the duration of copyright.

Q: What are galleries' rights regarding artworks they own if the author is dead? Can images of these artworks be used freely?
A: Rights of ownership do not allow publication of images of artworks if they are still in copyright. But if this work is in the public domain (i.e., Wikimedia in the USA), people can probably use and distribute the image. However, the gallery which owns the artwork may not be very happy if you don't pay them for their ownership rights! We discussed the idea of YouTube as a 'safe harbour'; they go beyond what the law requires re. takedown and digital 'fingerprinting', though they are being sued by Viacom at present for their earlier less cautious behaviour.

Q: Can copyrighted materials be posted behind the 'wall' in a VLE?
A: We discussed current lawsuits in the USA (whistle blowers reporting on what was posted?), and it was agreed there are limits on what you can and should do.

Q: Tim mentioned preservation exceptions in the main talk: would he elaborate?
A: No one objects to these preservation exceptions, even the rights owners. At present, though, this would only mean you could digitise slides before they are thrown out - but they couldn't be used, only dark archived! So, even though increased access should go hand in hand with slide digitisation, these preservation copies cannot be used to increase access - this contradiction is an important point. There has been no official government response to the Hargreaves report yet. This is supposed to be out within the month (but probably not until the autumn), so the law wouldn't be implemented until at least mid-2012

Q: What directives are there to come for orphan works?
A: We discussed collective licencing mandates for orphan works, where the majority of publishers are able to mandate copyright for *all* orphan works in their sector (for example, children's books).

Finally, Peter recommended we check out Tim's book "Copyright for Archivists and Record Managers" if we wanted more helpful advice. :)

(post by Paula Cuccurullo [EDINA, University of Edinburgh] and Kerry Watson [Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art]; both also from Scottish Visual Arts Group)


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