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Collections online and copyright law – Is there a disconnect? Susan Corbett

Collections online and copyright law – Is there a disconnect? Susan Corbett






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    Collections online and copyright law – Is there a disconnect? Susan Corbett Collections online and copyright law – Is there a disconnect? Susan Corbett Presentation Transcript

    • Collections Online and Copyright Law: is there a disconnect? A Research Project funded by the New Zealand Law Foundation 1
    • The elephant in the room Copyright Law 2
    • Orphan works 3
    • “ ….a black hole of 20th and 21st century content” 4
    • But we know…….that museums are digitising theircollections … 5
    • ”Lawrence Lessig’s “generation of pirates”. 6
    • Museum workers - the new pirates? 7
    • The Research Interviews with 26 employees workingat 7 museums and archives in New Zealand.• What do they know about copyright and digitisation?• What do they do?• What would they like to do? 8
    • The typical CHI collection includes..• Public domain items• Copyright items – 3 categories a) copyright transferred to institution (rare) b) copyright owner known and traceable (also rare) c) orphan works 9
    • PROBLEM 1 The archiving exceptions in copyright law apply to archives and libraries, not museums!(Obscure and difficult information trail through 3 separate Acts ofParliament to discover in what aspects they do apply tomuseums) 10
    • The Comments“They are useless …. if a museum person readthe Act, you don’t see the word ‘museum’there, not even in the definitions.” 11
    • The comments“We do our best to ignore copyright at all points. ….”“The law is too complicated to understand. I’ve been to a couple of copyright things and the general feeling is that it’s next to impossible…” 12
    • PROBLEM 2.The digital archiving exceptionsstrictly limit public access to digital copies. 13
    • Why digitise?“ essentially it’saccess first andthenpreservation....” Kermit the Frog and Friends American History Museums Collections smithsonianmag.com 14
    • Access to digital copies (s 56A)An archive may communicate 1 lawfully obtaineddigital copy in protected format to anauthenticated userbut the number of users must be no more thanthe aggregate number of the archive’s lawfullyobtained digital copiesand the user must be WARNED about copyrightmisuse. 15
    • New Zealand research participants agreed:“ the main reason for digitisation is to improve accessibility” 16
    • “Oral history recordings are easier to reproduce and reutilise in digital format, for example by extracting sound bytes… … essentially it’s access first and then preservation....” 17
    • PROBLEM 3. The digital archiving exceptions permit limited numbers of copies but digitisation is synonymous with many copies 18
    • “If we made one copy of something and lostit we would have much bigger problems thanpeople complaining about copyright. … I don’t think there is an organisation in thecountry that would only make one copy.Certainly not in a digital format.” 19
    • PROBLEM 4 The digital archiving exceptions – focus on preservation of items at risk of deterioration. – but museums use digitisation for collections management 20
    • • Is digitisation the answer? Not everyone agreed 21
    • Preservation? Collections management?“Digital is not better… it is so easy to lose things when they are digital. .. In IT we can’t even access things that were 15 years old. Yet, we can read books that were written 600 years ago.” 22
    • The orphan works dilemma for cultural heritage• If museums take a risk averse approach- many items cannot be made more widely accessible• If museums take a risk management approach – they join Lessig’ s band of copyright pirates! And, as State institutions, many do not wantto take that risk 23
    • Museum practices1. They ignore the archiving exceptions2. They digitise – but usually only post online with permission of the copyright owner3. Many “orphan works” remain unseen outside the physical institution. 24
    • Digitisation of a cultural heritage collectionDo the digital images themselves have separate copyright protection? Maybe! 25
    • Online collections: the Digital Dilemma for Cultural Heritagenew opportunities v. risks 26
    • Once uploaded to a website, an image, video orsound recording can be downloaded, appropriatedand remixed by any user with sufficient technicalknowledge. 27
    • Conflicting views“Usually with those there is restricted access and wedon’t put them online unless permission has beengranted by the iwi.”“Weighing up the benefit and the harm. … what ifsomebody puts Hitler’s head on Te Rauparaha orwhat is somebody puts a Tā Moko on a tea-toweland somebody finds it offensive? The consequenceof designing a policy around the exceptions is thatnobody gets to see anything much.” 28
    • “Paradoxically, at the same time the Dane-zaa peopleare asserting their right to control how their culturalheritage is circulated on-line,representations of their culture and language aremore prevalent on the Internet than ever before” Kate Hennessey, British Columbia researcher 29
    • Public Domain“If we borrow something from anothermuseum that is well out of copyright, theyput their own copyright restrictions on itanyway and say no one’s allowed tophotograph it because of copyright.” 30
    • AN330971001© The Trustees of the BritishMuseum 31
    • Is this a good thing?1. Should public domain entities now effectively qualify for another lengthy term of copyright protection?2. Is this contrary to one of the objectives of copyright – to encourage cultural development?3. Conversely is it a good thing for the owners of the original cultural heritage? 32
    • CONCLUSIONThe archiving exceptions are• Impracticable• Unworkable• Constrain institutional objectives. 33
    • Recommendations (1)changes to the archiving exceptions – to specifically include museums and galleries – not limited to ‘not for profit’ institutions. – to allow multiple digital copies, – to allow both on site and off site access to multiple digital copies. 34
    • Recommendations (2)A new provision in the Copyright Act- to reflectcurrent practices of CHIs and apply a balancedapproach. public interest in culture v indigenousconcerns. 35
    • Thank you – please contact me if you would like a copy of my report susan.corbett@vuw.ac.nz 36