Don’t judge a book by its cover

By Chris J Holland, on 9 February 2018

People sometimes ask about the copyright issues which might arise if one reproduces the cover of a book on social media. For example you might want to use a copy of the front cover to draw the attention of your particular academic community to a useful publication or you might just want to recommend a book to your friends. There is no doubt that the designs of recent book covers are protected by copyright and the usual rules apply.

In principle, unless you believe your usage is covered by a statutory exception,  you do need the permission of the copyright owner, which will usually be the publisher (although perhaps not in every case). The book cover is arguably a complete “artistic work” in its own right, so you may be reproducing 100% of a protected work. Both reproducing it and communicating it to the public are activities restricted by copyright.

On the other hand, assuming that you are discussing the book in a positive light in your blog post, what are the chances that the publisher will really object to what you are doing? Is it not a form of free marketing for the publisher’s product?  The process of seeking permission may turn out to be slow and cumbersome and the chances of the copyright owner being concerned are quite small. One could imagine a scenario in which the copyright in the cover design belonged to a free-lance artist. The publisher has paid the artist for a licence to use his work. You, on the other hand, don’t have a licence and have not paid anything to the artist, so in this scenario you could attract the copyright owner’s ire. But then, how likely is that in practice?

In the end it comes down to a decision based on your judgement about the specific book, the context in which you plan to reproduce the front cover and your appetite for risk.

‘Creativity, copyright and citation’ event

By Hazel M Ingrey, on 1 December 2017

Audiovisual Citation Guide

One of my favourite events is the Learning on Screen AGM day.  For the past few years I have benefitted from the fantastic speakers they draw together, speaking on the themes of audiovisual material and copyright.

 

Last year’s session A case study on Audiovisual Essay (19 minutes) provoked me to think on the importance of timing in *when* to deliver copyright training.  Dr. Catherine Grant, the engaged, informed academic had such an excellent working knowledge of copyright, and how to use UK copyright exceptions in a research or education setting, that she was using third party material with confidence and passing this confidence and excellent academic practice on to her students.  Get it right from the start and you will be empowered to use more third party material – even with ‘difficult’ resources like moving image.

 

This year the theme was around Creativity, copyright and citation.  Three things really caught my attention and had me scribbling down ideas for training or support at UCL.

  1. Dr. Shane O’Sullivan spoke about his students using archive footage to create their own films. Having worked in industry he automatically passed on his high standards of copyright understanding to his students, balancing a healthy respect for works with practicalities of re-using them. He encouraged students to balance third party material with their own original material (for pedagogic reasons); ‘work with broadcasters, not around them’; and said rights clearance had to be ‘achieveable’ – by using works by companies sucy as the BFI and Crown Copyright.  There are some copyright exceptions that could also be used in in this educational essay work, or review / critique setting.
  2. The e-CHARM project, commissioned by Learning on Screen and carried out by the engaging UK Copyright Literacy team and colleague, had its results presented today. The report will be available in 2018 and identified many areas where support and information is needed. For fans, the report from their last project, Lecture recording in HE: risky business or evolving open practice is available on Open Access.
  3. The first note I wrote to myself was ‘AV citation standards. Any guides’?  And by the last session I had one in my hands: the updated Audiovisual Citation guidelines by LoS, including new media such as Podcasts and vlogs.  All my questions answered at once!  I will link to them here when they are available online.

 

Learning on Screen is the new name of the BUFVC, of which UCL is a member.  It provides services such as TRILT, Box of Broadcasts, off-air recordings (and more) which are wonderful research and teaching resources.  Our use of these are supported by UCL’s ERA licence. Get in touch if you have questions about using any of these!

 

Psychometric scales, copyright protection and translation

By Chris J Holland, on 17 November 2017

A UCL researcher recently asked a series of questions about obtaining copyright permission to reproduce a published psychometric scale in the researcher’s own paper:

Q. Would the scale itself be protected by copyright?

A. Yes, if it is the original creation of the author(s) it will benefit from copyright protection, in which case permission is required to reuse it lawfully.

Q. What are the copyright implications of translating the scale into another language in order to apply it in a different cultural context?

A. Translation is a type of “adaptation” which is one of the activities restricted by copyright law – Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, Section 16(1)(e)

Therefore you do need permission if you want to publish a translation of someone’s work or make it available to the public etc. Interestingly your translation will also benefit from separate copyright protection as long as it has been made with permisssion from the owner of copyright in the original work.

Q. Can I then publish my paper under a Creative Commons licence (CC licence)?

A. By all means, as long as you are happy for people to reuse  your work freely under the terms of the chosen CC licence. It is impoortant to underline that you cannot licence the reuse of someone else’s work without their permission. Therefore you must include separate copyright information on any quotations of other people’s work, along with the usual acknowledgements of author and source,  to make it clear that it is not covered by the CC licence you are applying to your own work. This would also apply to the psychometric scale. It is important to note that having made your work available under a Creative Commons licence you cannot change your mind and withdraw the licence from people who are already making use of it.

 

Open letter supporting a strong TDM exception in EU law

By Chris J Holland, on 28 September 2017

A new open letter from EARE (the European Alliance for Research Excellence) to the MEPs sitting on the EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI Committee) puts the case for a really effective and workable copyright exception for Text and Data Mining (TDM) in Europe. UCL is one of some 20 organisations which have signed the letter, representing universities, research organisations, libraries and businesses in Europe.  The letter makes a strong case for an exception which permits anyone with lawful access to a body of copyright protected material to use the innovative techniques of TDM to carry out computer-based analyisis of that material without the risk of infringing copyright. The JURI Committeee will be considering amendments to the draft Copyright Directive in the near future, so this initiative is very timely.

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The pitfalls of photographs and social media

By Chris J Holland, on 27 September 2017

The blog of solicitors Collyer Bristow includes an interesting post about a copyright claim brought by a photographer against the well known model, Gigi Hadid. It is alleged that Ms Hadid circulated the photograph of herself to her millions of Instagram followers without seeking permission from the copyright owner (the photographer, Peter Cepeda). One interesting detail is that it is alleged a watermark carrying information on the ownership of the copyright was also removed from the photograph. In some cases people who recirculated the photograph were apparently misled into attributing the copyright to Ms Hadid and even to Instagram. The case is still to be decided but the scenario is an interesting illustration of how readily photographs can become separated from evidence of copyright ownership and the perils of reusing photographs on social media without permission.

 

 

Television formats and copyright

By Chris J Holland, on 27 September 2017

Are the formats of television shows like “The Voice” protected by some kind of intellectual property right? The answer seems to be that in some countries they are protected and in others not. The UK seems to be  one of the latter. UK copyright law has a finite list of the categories which are protected by copyright, listed in Section 1 of the Copyright , Designs and Patents Act 1988. Reality TV and quiz show formats don’t fit into any of them.

TV formats involve big money and often give rise to tussles over ownership, such as the disagreements about “The Voice” which are described by Hollywood Reporter The contrasting treatment of TV formats in Italian law and a recent case before the Italian Supreme Court are discussed by Eleonora Rosati in an interesting post on the IPCAT website.

Workshop: BFI archive

By Hazel M Ingrey, on 19 September 2017

Some rights reserved CC BY-NC https://www.flickr.com/photos/practicalowl/4938047296/ ; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Celuloid secrets by Kit

 

Calling film and media students, and teaching staff!  Copyright issues around re-using audiovisual material are complex, particularly in student assessment such as film essays: this free, October workshop could help you in your studies or teaching.

Run by the BFI, Learning on Screen and Kingston School of Art, this half-day workshop will explore the creative use of archive material, for Higher Education studies.

Participants will raise their awareness of copyright considerations in re-using archival moving-image works, and consider creative and pedagogic approaches to using this kind of material.

The workshop also marks the launch of an initiative to open up the BFI archive to student film makers, and a recent pilot scheme using BFI archive material will be presented.

Attendance is free but registration required. 18 October 2017, 11.00 – 14.00 at the BFI Southbank. Full details  are on the Learning on Screen website.

 

Little known Exception for Unpublished Works

By Chris J Holland, on 23 June 2017

I was reminded recently about an exception tucked away in the Copyright Act 1956 Section 7 which permits the making of a copy of an unpublished literary, dramatic or musical work “…with a view to publication”.You could be forgiven for supposing the 1956 Act entirely redundant but this particular measure is preserved by Schedule 1 paragraph 16 of the current Act (CDPA 1988).

The main conditions are that at the time at least 50 years have elapsed since the end of the year in which the author died and at least 100 years since the work was created.  Also the work must be kept in a “…library, museum or other institution where…it is open to public inspection.”

This could be a way around the 2039 rule, which gives extended copyright protection to unpublished works, by allowing publication in certain specific cases. Section 7(7) of the 1956 Act goes on to confirm that publication of the whole or part of the unpublished work in these circumstances is not infringing.

A significant condition is added at 7(7)b: “Immediately before the new work was published, the identity of the owner of the copyright in the old work was not known to the publisher of the new work…” So in a way the exception only applies to “orphan works” although there is no explict demand for a diligent search (or even a not so diligent search).

My enquiry related to the letters of an artist who died in 1932, satisfying the 50 years test. The letters however were from the 1920s, which is too recent. In order to fulfil the conditions of the exception the unpublished work would need to be created no later than the first half of 1917.

On the other hand there could be many older unpublished literary, dramatic and musical works held by libraries, museums etc. where publication would be covered by the exception.

 

 

TDM and copyright advocacy

By Chris J Holland, on 13 June 2017

The draft EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market is currently being scrutinised by a series of European Parliamentary committees and is open to proposed amendments which could either maximise the usefulness to the HE and research sector of the proposed copyright exceptions or alternatively render them quite unhelpful. This is the subject of a great deal of advocacy by groups supporting a more user-friendly copyright framework and those who are opposed to more generous exceptions.

In this context UCL Library Services has recently lent its support to the European Alliance for Research Excellence (EARE) which provides a platform for those advocating a more generous EU wide exception for Text and Data Mining (TDM).

The original wording of the draft Directive (Article 3) provided an exception only for the benefit of a narrowly defined class of “research organisations” run on a non-profit basis. That would create uncertainty about the position of collaborative projects of all kinds between universities and commercial organisations, including technology based start-ups.

The position of EARE is that since one has to have “legal access” to the information in order to carry out TDM under the exception then the exception should be available to anyone who has legal access not just a narrow class of research organisations.  This is an significant issue for the future of research in Europe given the importance of TDM in all areas of research.

Reading aloud

By Chris J Holland, on 9 May 2017

A recent enquiry concerned reading from various literary works at a University event. Do we need permission if the work is still in copyright? Actually there is an exception in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) which is not often discussed. The exception in Section 59(1) permits the reading or recitation in public of a “reasonable extract” from a published literary and dramatic works. There are no restrictions about the context or the type of event, so it could be commercial. Similarly it is not subject to a “fair dealing” test (as are many of the more familiar exceptions in the CDPA), just the “reasonable extract” requirement:

59 Public reading or recitation

(1) The reading or recitation in public by one person of a reasonable extract from a published literary or dramatic work does not infringe any copyright in the work if it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.

(2) Copyright in a work is not infringed by the making of a sound recording, or the communication to the public, of a reading or recitation which by virtue of subsection (1) does not infringe copyright in the work, provided that the recording or communication to the public consists mainly of material in relation to which it is not necessary to rely on that subsection.”

Section 59(2) even permits the making of a sound recording and communication to the public as long as they do not consist mainly of material which depends on this exception. That is, there needs to be more substantial content to the recording or the communication  in addition to the “reasonable extracts” from protected works.