10 April 2016

CILIP Copyright Briefing 2016: Chair’s Report

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of chairing and arranging the programme for the CILIP Copyright Executive Briefing. This was a collaboration between CILIP and LACA (Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance). LACA has been instrumental in lobbying for and achieving copyright reform in the UK. I’ve been proud to Chair LACA now for just under 3 years, and the event was made more pleasurable by the number of my LACA colleagues who are able to attend and contribute to the day in various ways.

The CILIP Copyright Executive Briefing is an annual event targetted at UK library and information professionals and dedicated to copyright and licensing issues. Typically, the event is attended by specialists from different sectors: those working in Government, University and College Librarians, Health, law libraries, Museum librarians, archivists, the corporate sector etc. A live twitter feed #CopyrightEB means that the conference attracts online attention as well. CILIP’s copyright pages provide some helpful sources of advice and support.

Two years after the UK implemented its reforms to the copyright exceptions, this event was an important opportunity for participants to understand and discuss the impact of these changes, evaluate their response to risk, as well as hear about other UK and International developments.

We had an amazing line up of speakers during the day, and buzz words for me that summed up the day included:

Collaboration; Risk; Safe; Gamification; Changes; Protocols; Definitions; Dedicated Terminals; Originality; Unpublished; 2039; Making available to the public

So much was discussed, but my key learning points from the day are:

  • The importance of collaborative working within organisations, between organisations within the public sector, between libraries and also between sectors. This latter point was made robustly by Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of the Society of Authors. She spoke about the collaboration between the Society of Authors and the British Library in terms of developing protocols to inform and benefit all involved in the rights clearance process.
  • Rights holders are people too and we need to make sure that clear explanations are given at all times about the types of permissions that are requested, why and for what?
  • How technological innovation can support the use of licensed material, as evidenced by James Bennett from the Copyright Licensing Agency. Developments in licensing and technology have meant that CLA customers don’t have to think about copyright.
  •  Changes in copyright law since 2014 are a good thing, but change still brings uncertainty and fear. We need to embrace the fear and put in place the ncessary measures so that we provide an excellent service with limited resources, but still feel safe. We can’t assume that users of library services understand copyright, and so we have a clear obligation to ensure that we provide signage and clarify wherever possible. We should also develop organisation-wide policies to provide staff with a framework so that they know what to do in specific circumstances relating to user copying.
  • Copyright is as much about risk identification, management and mitigation now as it was before the 2014 changes to the copyright exceptions.
  • Case law going back hundreds of years (Graves Case and subsequent case law)  is still relevant and important for understanding copyright in the digital age. Tim Padfield, copyright specialist discussed this issue with regards to the Intellectual Property Office’s recent copyright notice regarding their view that there is unlikely to be copyright in digitised copies of photos etc
  • Even during times of stress, libraries can use the new copyright framwork to be innovative, provide a better service for library users and researchers, and  contribute towards their resilience. This was very much stressed by Jane Rosen, Senior Librarian at the Imperial War Museum who discussed how in 2015 the Imperial War Museum identified photocopying as an area where costs were high and, due to growing backlogs, public dissatisfaction growing. As a result, IWM London introduced a photography permit to the Research Room at IWM London, allowing researchers to make their own copies.
  • Copyright training lends itself to gamification to take away the fear and confusion.Jane Secker, Copyright and Digital Literacy Advisor at LSE and Chris Morrison, Copyright Officer at Kent University presented the results of their information literacy survey on UK librarians’ attitudes to copyright and the benefits of using gamifying techniques to teach copyright.
  • Far from being a burden, the amended obligations for libraries outlined in the Public Sector Information Regulations of 2013, create the framework for good business practices, removing “mates rates” and establishing transparency and an even playing field for customer accessing free and charged for content. Ben White, Head of Intellectual Property at the British Library discussed how any information held by these publically funded libraries (including university libraries),  that is public domain or is the copyright (or database right) of that organisation is legally viewed as being public sector information and therefore its re-use must comply with the updated regulations. Ben explained the ramification of the act, including practical next step recommendations for the libraries affected.
  • Copyright legislation is constantly changing and since 1988, the Copyright Designs and Patents Act, has changed many times and will continue to do so.David Beckett, Senior Copyright Advisor, Intellectual Property Office gave an overview of likely copyright changes across Europe. These are likely to be  published in September 2016 and will include changes to bring countries in Europe more in line with each other as part of the Digital Single Market measures. Interest for the UK includes more possible flexibility in teaching and learning exceptions, the dedicated terminals exception and text and data mining- WATCH THIS SPACE
  •  The dedicated terminals exception still provides uncertainty, however a lively discussion was captured and a set of FAQs should be published soon by CILIP on www.cilip.org.uk/copying

Finally, one can never know enough about copyright and checking, and rechecking the legislation (where appropriate) and good sources of advice, is essential. For example, in the amended Section 30, of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the Quotation exception does not apply to unpublished text based works because of the meaning behind the work needing to have been “made available to the public”.

It was a great day and I am immensely grateful to CILIP for asking me to set the programme and chair for the fifth year running, to my colleagues and friends for their inspiring presentations and to the audience for their engagement and laughing at my jokes even by the end of the day, at the end of another long week!

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