By Chris J Holland, on 30 April 2015
Publisher contracts can vary quite a lot, but in the case of traditional book publishing it is common for the publishers to expect the copyright in the work to be assigned to them. Before you accept the agreement it is worth taking a critical look at the details. While the publisher is usually in a more powerful position, you could still try to negotiate if there are aspects which you don’t like.
An alternative would be for you to retain the copyright and grant the other publisher a licence to publish for example, which means that you have not entirely surrendered the Intellectual Property rights in the book. Even if the publisher is amenable to this suggestion, they may still insist upon an all encompassing exclusive licence and a cynic might say there is no practical difference to assigning the copyright.
If copyright is assigned, the publisher may also grant you a licence to make use of your own work in certain ways, such as reproducing extracts on your personal or institutional website. It is always worth pressing the publisher about any specific use of the work you would wish to make. Recently a UCL academic author was concerned that assigning the copyright in his work (as requested) would prevent him from translating and publishing the work in his native language (Portuguese) at a future date. The author was right to be concerned, since copyright includes the right to produce an adapted version, such as a translation. The answer: negotiate on that point with the publisher to see whether they will licence that particular right back to you.
By Chris J Holland, on 24 April 2015
A UCL department was planning a poetry performance to mark the WW1 centenary. The readings would be mainly of complete poems by authors of various nationalities. Where the original works were in a language other than English a translation would also be read either from a published source or translated into English by one of the team organising the event. What are the copyright issues and how should they be addressed?
Performance of copyright works is one of the activities restricted by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA). Faced by this question, it is important to know whether the performances are internal to UCL and will be attended solely by our students and staff. If it were purely internal then the event would be covered by a copyright exception in Section 34 of the CDPA for performances within educational establishments. Had that been the case then there would have been no need to request permission to perform the works.
As it was, members of the public would be invited to attend the event and there would be a small entry charge to cover expenses, so Section 34 did not help us. The answer then was that, in so far as the works were still in copyright, it was necessary to seek permission from each copyright owner. Translating a work into another language is also a restricted act (a form of “adaptation”). It follows that where UCL people were producing an English translation for the occasion, they would really need the copyright owner’s permission to do so. If they were reading a published translation then that performance would also require permission, since the translation would also be protected by copyright (separate from the copyright in the original)
By Chris J Holland, on 24 April 2015
A biography of Joseph Goebbels by Peter Longerich, a prominent historian at Royal Holloway College specialising in modern German history, has stirred up a dispute about the copyright in Goebbels’s diaries, which has been widely reported on internet news sites. The original, German version of the biography was published in 2010 and the English language edition is due next month. As you might expect in a biography, Longerich quotes extensively from the diaries kept by Goebbels.
The basic copyright term in Germany is the author’s lifetime plus 70 years (as in the UK), so Goebbels’s works are in copyright until 2016. Nevertheless the publishers were surprised to be pursed for infringement of copyright in the diaries by lawyers on behalf of Goebbels’s estate. It is common knowledge that Goebbels’s immediate family died in Hitler’s bunker, so presumably the estate has been inherited by more distant relatives.
This raises an obvious moral question about family members making money from the diaries of this particular individual but it also illustrates the lengthy duration of copyright under EU legislation. In terms of UK copyright law, the diaries may be caught by the 2039 rule (which is nearly as difficult to understand as the offside rule!). If the diaries are truly an “unpublished work” then it looks as though they would indeed be in copyright for an additional 23 years in the UK.
By Chris J Holland, on 17 April 2015
This query received by the UCL Library involves several aspects of copyright. A researcher, Shilpa, who is planning to publish a book, has visited the Library to consult a PhD thesis. The author of the thesis (Hector) died a few years previously. Shilpa has asked about the copyright implications of reproducing some quotations from Hector’s PhD thesis in her book. A question springs to mind for those familiar with the recent changes to UK Copyright Law:
Could the use of material from the PhD thesis be covered by the new, broader Quotations exception (Section 32 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988)? If the quotations are of modest length and meet the requirements of the Fair dealing test (which applies to Section 32 along with other copyright exceptions) then it may be that the researcher will feel confident in relying on the exception.
However, if there is any doubt about whether it is then, given especially that the book will be commercially published, Pam may decide to reduce her risk by seeking permission.
But then whom should she approach for permission? Copyright would initially have belonged to the author. The thesis is unpublished so it is most likely that copyright remained with the author, now deceased. IP rights can be inherited like any item of property. Unless the author of the thesis made provision for the copyright in his works in a will it has probably been inherited by his family as part of his estate. The task facing Shilpa is therefore to trace Hector’s family in order to find the copyright owner and seek permission.
By Chris J Holland, on 1 April 2015
A statement to promote copyright reform in Europe entitled “the London Manifesto” has been launched by the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA). With the EU carrying out a review of its copyright legislation this year it is a very timely moment to express some bold recommendations for reforms which would assist users of copyright material, particularly in higher education and research libraries.
Further information can be found here on the CILIP website and the text of the London Manifesto can be found here. It order to give as much impetus to the initiative as possible, LACA are inviting all interested organisations to sign up to the Manifesto if the are in agreement. Following the amendments to UK copyright exceptions in 2014, the EU is the new stage for copyright reform, so it will be important to follow developments and participate.
By Chris J Holland, on 30 March 2015
The Intellectual Property Office has published a report looking at the available penalties under the criminal justice system for copyright infringement. The report focusses in particular on the differences between the penalties available for online infringement as opposed to “traditional” copyright infringement. Recommendations are made for balancing up the available penalties and it sheds an interesting light on the existing criminal provisions.
By Chris J Holland, on 2 March 2015
There is a forthcoming event which should be of great interest to information professional with responsibility for copyright issues. CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is running an Executive Briefing covering the “Latest developments in Copyright: Legislation and Licensing” on Wednesday 1st April.
Last year’s event, which focussed especially on the new and updated exceptions to copyright was invaluable for those of us needing to understand the changes to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
This year the keynote speaker is Dr Ros Lynch, Director, Copyright Enforcement at the UK Intellectual Property Office. Will Dr Lynch talk about the Government’s strange decision not to implement the planned changes to the anachronistic 2039 copyright term which catches a vast number of older unpublished works (see previous blog posts)? We shall see!
The other speakers are all members of the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA), representing between them a wealth of knowledge and experience of copyright matters.
By Chris J Holland, on 25 February 2015
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 was passed with the intention of making public authorities in the UK more accountable and transparent. It creates a general right of access for individual citizens to information held by public bodies. This is the piece of legislation which Tony Blair famously regretted – according to his published memoirs. The duty to provide information is very wide ranging but does have a list of exemptions, especially in relation to personal information on living individuals. UCL comes within the scope of the Act, so we have a duty to answer FOI requests appropriately.
Just this week a copyright question came along which also includes aspects of FOI and that led me to discover the existence of UCL’s excellent FOI service and to contact Alex Daybank of Legal Services, who is responsible for addressing Data Protection and FOI questions. If you are within UCL and you have any questions about FOI please feel free to contact Alex via the dedicated FOI email address: email@example.com
By Chris J Holland, on 23 February 2015
The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has recently completed a consultation on a very specific aspect of Copyright Law. The plan is to repeal Section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA), which currently functions as an exception. The usual term of copyright for an artistic work is the creator’s lifetime plus 70 years, but by virtue of Section 52, where an artistic work is exploited as an industrial design, the duration of copyright in the original work is 25 years from the first marketing of the product. The product consisting of copies of the original artistic work produced by an industrial process. Under current legislation the artistic work which has functioned as an industrial design in this way can thus be freely copied by others when 25 years has elapsed.
The current exception applies to both 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional works. It could cover furniture, wallpaper, fabrics and jewellery for example, where the design comes from an original artistic work which has been copied.
With the removal of the Section 52 exception, the original artistic work will enjoy the much longer copyright term applicable to artistic works in general. The main motive for the change seems to be to bring the UK into line with EU copyright law, where there is no equivalent exception.
The IPO has just published its proposal for dealing with Transitional Arrangements . The repeal will take effect on 6th April 2020, in order to give businesses relying upon the reproduction of original designs time to adjust. The overall effect is that many “works of artistic craftsmanship” which had already gone out of copyright will be protected once more, creating issues for among others, makers of reproduction furniture and publishers of books containing designs which will come back into copyright.
The IPO acknowledges that the most significant issue will be exactly which works qualify as “works of artistic craftsmanship” and therefore qualify for the full period of protection, something which is likely to be settled by the courts.
By Chris J Holland, on 13 February 2015
Guest blog post from: Elizabeth Lawes, Subject Librarian: Fine Art, History of Art & Film Studies, UCL Library Services.
For Art and Film Studies students, newspapers are an excellent source of exhibition and film reviews, interviews, obituaries etc. Alongside this wealth of text based resources, I am often asked the best place to find recent multimedia material. On a fact finding mission to find out about News and multimedia resources at the BL, I attended a workshop on the Television and Broadcast News Service , now available in the recently established St Pancras Newsroom.
The British Library has been collecting printed news since 1869 but, with many publications developing significant online content, has branched out into archiving .uk websites as part of the Legal Deposit UK Web Archive. This archive includes many news based sites and can be accessed on computers in the BL Reading Room (the smaller Open UK Web Archive is a collection of selected websites archived since 2003 with permissions to make freely available online). In addition to the web archives, in 2010 the BL started recording television and radio news broadcasts from channels free to air in the UK; to date, approximately 50,000 news programmes have been recorded from 22 channels and, currently, 60 hours of television and 22 hours of radio are being recorded every day. Channels include BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Al-Jazeera English, France 24, CNN, and Sky News. Often, programmes are available within hours, or even minutes, of broadcast. At least two channels are recorded 24/7, allowing the tracking of breaking news. During significant news events (e.g. the death of Osama Bin Laden), every channel is blanket recorded on a 24 hour basis.
Copyright restrictions mean that the searchable archive can only be accessed onsite at the British Library via the Broadcast News Service, but details of the content can be accessed via the BL’s main catalogue. Following recent updates to the CLA licence, multimedia materials are subject to the same controls as printed materials; it is entirely feasible that the BL will soon be dealing with requests from researchers for extracts of up to 5% of a news broadcast for use in their research. They have yet to devise a practical way to comply.