On the last day before Easter I escaped from the office to head to a rather chilly University of Sheffield to attend a JISCLegal Copyright event. As neither of my copyright officers were available to attend, hoped I’d glean some much needed insight into the latest developments in copyright legislation and practice. What follows are my notes from the event with a few comments where appropriate
Digital Images, John Hargreaves, JISC Digital Media
Formerly the organisation was known as TASI. It is based at the University of Bristol. John gave an overview of their role and services; highlighting their new two weekly online surgery which is open to all. Opened with a note on the relative impenetrability of copyright law (which in the light of the last session of day I can heartily concur with)– however, in this session he aimed to demystify aspects of image © law.
Despite what many people assume just because an image is on the internet doesn’t mean you can use it. Since all images are inherently copyrighted, normally to the creator, there is always a rights issue unless the creator/rights owner has clearly waived it – and indeed even then there might be some constraints.
He highlighted the vast growth in digital images, more user generated content, more sharing, ease of access and proliferation of web 2 services like Flickr and Google Images; services that allow dissemination. Traditional legislation is unclear in a digital context, and also laws are constantly changing and tightening. The suggestion today is that balance of rights lies with the rights holders not public access; something that seems to fly in the face of the open access agenda. Copyright in images will change on formats, something that isn’t born digital might have several different rights holders (original photographer, owner of a photo in a gallery, digitiser etc). The length of time that these rights remain as well for each format can differ.
While rights stay with the rights holder normally, if you create something while contracted to work for an organisation the user might not hold the rights. One line that I liked from John was that copyright exemptions aren’t rights to use, they are defences if you are challenged over your use.
So to avoid some of these problems then you should make use of trusted resources, such as JISC Image collections [LINK]. Commercial sites exist as well, although there might well be per-use or subscription fees to pay. Some sites deal with copyright exempt issues like stock.xchng for example. Also mentioned Flickr and advanced creative commons search for images for re-use. However, some people may well mount images in which they don’t own the copyright – assume the owner doesn’t understand copyright. Look through their images and see if the images in a users collections have the same look and feel, a good guide to seeing if they are the creator of them.
If you want to use images draw up your own license, or at least a clear description of how you would like it to work and the uses to which you will put the images. Even if you don’t directly use it with the rights holder it will help form part of your audit trail documentation, and will clarify discussions. You should consider the various possible rights within an image e.g. moral rights, data protection, expired rights due to age and clear statements of ownership. Joint ownership can be an issue where you need to clear the rights with more than one location. Web2rights.org.uk has sample copyright permission letters that you can use.
Think for anything you or your users create to check that permissions to include images are covered. Consider how long a period of time permission is for (forever for a printed document, or a period of time for a web site for example). You also need to think of any related rights that might need to be cleared up at the same time. Is it appearing on the web and will you archive them or the document in some way. What do you expect the users of your object to be able to do with the images? Indeed if you have these issues clear in your head you are making it much easier for the rights holder to grant clear permissions. And all of this must be clearly documented – permissions, what you can/can’t do, who can use it, what can be done with it, what time limits that exist and the context of use of the object.
Creating image metadata to associate with the image and your use of it can be valuable. It allows you to attach the rights and permissions to the object so it can be passed to other people with these usage restrictions clearly accessible. Finally John talked about importance of asking for size/resolution of an image and how this will impact on where you can use it effectively. Print and screen have different requirements, and if you want high resolution images you are unlikely to find them on free sites – likelihood there will be fees to pay.
Music Copyright, Beverley Dodd, Birmingham City University
Fundamentals of music 1) copyright© is traditional copyright for music, lyrics, artwork etc well established. 2) (p) and this applies to the sound recording itself – p = phonographic. Different copyright laws apply to music around the world. E.g. in the UK the life+70 year rule applies, but there are changes planned. The exemptions are very limited for music copyright. For examination purposes students can perform any music behind closed doors, but photocopying of music is not allowed. Noted that now music in shops has to have a license paid for it; so does that mean more musak?
The power shift in the digital age is towards to rights holder, the major corporations, extending (p) on sound recordings from 50 to 95 years; which is a pretty horrific approach. But this has come because the record companies own the recordings but not the original songs, which remain the ownership of the artist.
CLA licenses do not cover printed music, including the words. Some music cannot be purchased, it can only be hired from publishers. The PRS for Music (Performing Right Society) is the main collecting society in Britain – for live performed music must be declared to them and be licensed, even if given for free or charity. Even more true for music used to communicate to the public in the digital media. License charges vary depending on size and type of performance. Note in the US there are some exemptions for some public places e.g. Bars and Grills.
There was a suggestion of using the old postal method of protecting copyright, a sealed envelope with composition inside date stamped, for musicians to record their rights; which seemed horribly antiquated.
The PRS are very litigious and have even challenged people who work to music on their own, or in private or to horses. Note that YouTube and PRS had a spat in 2009 which saw all premium UK music videos dropped from the site for a period. Noted that some police constabulary (e.g. Wiltshire) refuse to pay the PRS fees and claim an exemption. Even a singing granny in Scotland was slapped with £1000 fee, although they backed down after a slew of negative publicity. The key here is they will pursue just about anyone they consider requires a license. There is a code of practice for University’s available from the PRS.
At BCU they have a conservatoire, and so music copyright and reuse rights are very important to them. Future music © trends as noted are tightening up and locking down. Noted wifi and the Digital Economies Bill means that universities will be required to police and cut access to any illegal use as defined by the UK’s restrictive copyright laws.
eTheses at the University of Sheffield: a case study, Clare Scott
Ethos kicked off by aiming to digitize 5000 high use theses across the country, with 500 supplied from Sheffield. Not all of these were digitized due to issues at the BL. EthOS soft launched 2008. At Sheffield works in a very similar manner to Leicester, including a period of embargo allowed for. Mandated deposit to all students registered from 2008. 3 faculties broadly in support, 2 have particular issues, and 1 is strongly opposed. Issues that have come up included:
- Prior publication concerns
- Book publication
- 3rd party copyright and finding permissions
In practise hard copy submission will continue for 5 years (2013) and will be reviewed at that point. So far on a day to day basis it hasn’t been a massive change.
Benefits to students include readability and accessibility on a global scale. Hopefully this means their impact will be more immediate and that (eventually) download statistics will be visible. It also offers a taste of self-marketing and promotion for the student. Has helped students when they come to publish as they are seeking copyright permissions earlier that they would otherwise struggle to obtain. Embargo reasons are much the same as ours, including political sensitivity. All theses have to be uploaded, even those embargoed as they can go into the dark archive and not be made visible – but it does mean that an electronic version is available. Problems with commercial exploitation of material when a commercial company took every one of the medical depts, so need to make sure any license doesn’t allow for this to avoid conflicts with academic’s later work.
Sheffield are paying £8,000 a year towards the £40 per theses digitisation fee. Pay up front model is causing problems and concerns from students who expect university will pay. They don’t ask author permission, and in terms of older materials don’t worry about copyright and other issues – reliance on takedown policy. Librarians get asked to download and add to stock, but permission for this is not given. Result is a lot of questions remain, like changing to asking author permissions, or desire from alumni to see theses live. The problem of rising third party copyright questions will continue to rise, and if the training is sufficient to equip the students with the skills to deal with the issues.
Copyright & the cultural sector, Tim Padfield
Developments in copyright law – in policy terms copyright is most important IPO legislation, over patents which actually brings in more money. Libraries and archives are regarded as trusted intermediaries, between rights owners and users, which means it should make things easier for us to seek permissions. A contract can override copyright, and this can be a problem.
Digital Economy Bill Orphan works – Anyone can become an authorised body to license orphaned works, via application to secretary of state. However, every work must be investigated before it can become an orphaned work and so doesn’t really help facilitate mass digitisation.
Exemptions including reprographic copying to cover films and audio, to allow external access to VLEs. Exemptions don’t apply if there’s a licensing scheme in active. Notable that just because an organisation does education, does not mean it is classed as an educational establishment for the purposes of the exemption. Fair dealing is designed to expand to all forms of media beyond text; but only to work carried out by students or staff at a prescribed educational establishment (for private study or research).
Undefined terms and concepts, Tanya Alpin
The final session of the day was rather a disappointment, as it was delivered at an expert academic practitioner level and as such was all but incomprehensible to me. While doubtless there were some in the room who could follow the legalese, considering the accessibility of the rest of the day’s sessions this was a shame. The one piece of advice I did manage to glean was on the role of originality – the less original a work is, the easier it is to reuse fairly.