UoL Library Blog

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Copyright Masterclass

Posted by taniarowlett on 6 March, 2012

Aslib’s first ‘Copyright Masterclass’  took place last week with Naomi Korn at the helm.  We started with a brain storm on what we actually knew about IPR (which was a bit mean at 10.15 in the morning and considering we pretty much only knew about copyright).  Anyway, the general consensus was that it  covered a broad range of areas and could be extremely complex, with some parts of the ‘family’ needing to be registered (e.g.patents, trademarks), others not (e.g.copyright), and still others could be registered or unregistered.

Highlights of the day included Naomi:

  • Using a great analogy for IPR – you can essentially do the same things with them as you can with a property: buy, sell, rent (licence) and bequeath.  I shall be incorporating that into my next training session.
  • Introducing me to the term bona vacantia.  This where you have no idea who owns the rights to a work or item (e.g. if someone died intestate or with no known next of kin, or the item is an asset of a dissolved company).  The Treasury Solicitor handles the administration for such things, and will try to trace any living blood relatives of the deceased or handle the sale of a company’s assets.
  • Explaining that none of us present (a mix of people from museums, HE institutions and private firms) are either purely commercial or non-commercial, we are mostly going to be a mixture of both (ie. Commercial firms will run internal or free of charge training sessions, non-commercial activities such as teaching could be deemed commercial if students pay fees).
  • Providing an overview of the Hargreaves recommendations and the progress and timelines of the IPO consultation.  Potentially we could have draft legislation by Autumn 2012.
  • Giving an update on the DEA and how it could potentially affect Universities if we are classed as service providers, although responses to OFCOMs consultation have called for them to provide a category for ‘Non-qualifying ISPs’ under which Universities could fall. 

One other particular area of interest to me, due to my work on the Manufacturing Pasts project, was that of orphan works.  Apparently such works are estimated to constitute 50% items held in archives, and over 50 million of them exist in the UKs Public Sector alone.  I recently carried out my own analysis of the the Special Collections works we wish to digitize in our project, and estimated that approximately 60% of them are orphan works.

We also talked about the benefits and detrimental effects of contract overriding copyright law in the UK and how we handled the multitude of differences between each contract, along with recent cases (NLA v Meltwater and the Red Bus (not its real name but this seems to be what everyone knows it as)) and an overview of Creative Commons and its licenses.

 I should at this point finish by a. saying if you get the chance, go on this course, it is extremely interesting and helpful, and b. giving a plug both to JISCs IPR toolkit, which for anyone starting out in copyright will be of huge benefit as it includes model permissions templates and contract/license clauses, along with JISCs new OER IPR short video: Turning a Resource into an Open Educational Resource , which is exactly what it says on the tin.

Just one more thing, ASLIB currently run four communities of practice (COP): Business Information; Engineering and Technology; Education; and Translation and Technology, which they are keen for people to engage with.  So go on, have a look and see if you can get involved.

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