CILIP eCopyright Briefing report

cats and booksLast Thursday I attended (and presented) at the CILIP eCopyright briefing, chaired by Naomi Korm with a wide range of speakers who updated us on aspects of copyright law and copyright practices. The day was opened by Heather Caven, Head of Collection Management and Planning  at the V&A, who gave us an inspiring talk about copyright at her own institution, where copyright could in the past be seen as a barrier. In a climate where we are all trying to do more with less, Heather urged us to consider what should be given away for free and what should be paid for. In terms of the V&A, the image service has been running since 2009, making over 1.1 million images available for free, under CC licences with no impact on profits. The commitment to opening up the collection and working with Wikimedia was inspiring. But Heather urged us to gather metrics to really understand how people are using your collections and your website and to understand how if you give away something for free then that can translate into people spending money on your site.

Kate Vasili from Middlesex University spoke next about the range of licences we now have to deal with in the HE sector. She updated us on the CLA Licence which is due for renewal in August and looked at licences such as ERA, but also Creative Commons 4.0. Meanwhile Professor Charlotte Waelde, from the Law Department at University of Exeter looked to Hargreaves and beyond. She considered new legislation such as the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (ERRA) which was passed at the end of April and will have an impact on copyright. She also talked about the new Copyright Hub which is designed to make licensing easier. She also considered issues such as orphan works, EU changes and some of the exception to copyright that will come into UK law following Hooper and Hargreaves, such as the exception for parody and caricature. The government are also saying that contracts  should no longer be able to overrule copyright law. She also talked about how the IPO plan to issue guidance notes to help the public understand copyright in complex areas.

The final speaker of the morning was Peter Wienand, from Farrer & Co who spoke about Copyright in the courts. He highlighted a number of interesting cases going through the UK and European courts. A Danish case back in 2009 tested out whether 11 words could be considered original and since then this case has been cited in several other cases, suggesting that originality rather than substantiality can lead to infringement. There is also a case in Sweden around hyperlinking and whether this can be considered infringement – its still going through the European court, so watch this space. A case involving a photo of a London bus has recently shown that originality in photographs is related to the lighting composition, framing etc. and no actual copying needs to take place. And several cases have been through the courts related to football data company, Football Dataco. Finally several cases have been brought against the internet providers, BSkyB andBT for knowing their service is being used for infringement.

After lunch, Dafydd Tudur from the National Library of Wales spoke about their policy not to claim copyright in digitised images and was also advocating the use of Creative Commons licences for sharing material from public collections. He talked about how income from licensing is still very modest and largely subsidised by the public. He looked at why you might want to retain copyright (for control?) and quoting Cory Doctorow said, our greatest fear is not piracy, it is obscurity. A photo of a dog with a pipe the NLW have on Flickr Commons now has over 20,000 views. Echoing much of what Heather said, the NLW realises that their content is out on the web, and so ensuring that the right content is available is important.

Following my own talk on practical issues of dealing with copyright, Suzanne Hardy from Newcastle University spoke about copyright training for staff. She also maintained that internet security was a ‘romantic illusion’ and that we must manage risk, as students will share content whether we like it or not. She had tips for success and showed people small things, such as the Google Advanced search to find Creative Commons images, which could make a big difference to their practice.

Overall it was a fascinating day and a great chance to meet some new people, lots of delegates were from outside of higher education, but also a chance to get up to date with the latest in the law, and what is happening in practice. I particularly liked Naomi’s summing up at the end of the day, and of her believe that knowing about copyright was all part of digital literacy – I couldn’t agree more! And the final moral of the story is, put some cats into any presentation you do, it goes down a storm!

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