UoL Library Blog

Develop, debate, innovate.

IPR Workshop

Posted by taniarowlett on 4 October, 2010

Last week I attended the Strategic Content Alliance (SCA) IPR workshop hosted by JISC.  The event was run exceptionally well by Naomi Korn and Sarah Fahmy and included overviews of the current progress of the Gowers review, the mounting case law surrounding the issue of privacy vs public interest and the remaining uncertainties relating to the future impact of the Digital Economy Bill. 

There was a great deal of discussion within the group throughout the day, but three main themes emerged:

  • the increasing emphasis on developing a business model to generate income from the rights we hold, whilst continuing to participate in the open access movement.  How can we best generate commercial income but still make our works open access?
  • the clear need for legislation on the use of orphan works.  Currently the decision to digitise and/or use works where there is no clear and contactable rights holder is determined by the level of risk associated with their use, and the decisions vary widely from person to person and institution to institution
  • the weighing up of benefit vs the cost of clearing obscure works.  Naomi made a good point in saying that the more obscure an item, the more cultural and educational interest it may hold.  However, for those of us involved in trying to clear rights for any use of these items it can be extremely time consuming, for perhaps little perceived gain.

With Universities and public bodies finding themselves having to justify their use of public funds, the question is whether we should be pursuing activities which provide us with maximum ‘internal’ educational use; making more of our creative output available to public; or be trying to use the unique resources we hold (specialised archive material, high profile academic research) to generate alternative forms of funding, and which is the most cost-effective?

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