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Archive for April, 2014

Help is at hand for neglected “Orphan Works”

Chris JHolland25 April 2014

What are “Orphan Works”? An example: We own an archive of personal correspondence bequeathed by an individual. An author wishes to quote from the letters in a biography. The letters by the person are still in copyright (we know the date of death), but who inherited the copyright? Was it left to our archive along with the documents? Letters to our subject from others pose further problems: Copyright is defined by reference to the life span of each correspondent and it could belong to a range of people.
These are orphan works: Likely to be in copyright, but the owners either cannot be identified or if identified cannot be found. The danger in re-using orphan works is that a copyright owner will appear who objects, with the possibility of legal action.
Help will be at hand come Autumn 2014 with the implementation of the EU Orphan Works Directive, Directive 2012/28/EU. This will provide a route for cultural organisations to legitimise re-use of orphan works (excluding stand-alone images such as photographs) on web sites by:
Registration with the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market.
Recording on the OHIM database the results of our “diligent search” along with any information on rights owners we have discovered.
A re-emergent copyright owner will be entitled to “fair compensation” from us. The Directive is intended to cover digitisation for web sites, not broadcasting or distribution. No help to our author but it will assist non-commercial projects to make orphan works available on the web.

Enhanced Disability Exception to Copyright

Chris JHolland10 April 2014

This is one of the more exciting changes included in the updating of exceptions to copyright, which have been proposed by the Government. If all goes to plan it should come into force on 1st June 2014, along with the other changes.  The existing exception (which stands to be replaced) permits the making of accessible copies solely for persons with visual impairments. This allows for example large print copies, conversion into braille and audio versions. Currently there is nothing to  permit copying into a format to assist people with any issues other than visual impairment, such as dyslexia.

The updated version, as published by the IPO, will allow us to make an accessible copy to give a person with any type of disability better access to copyright material. So that if a person with mobility issues would benefit from an accessible copy, we would be allowed to produce that copy for them.

The other major advantage of the new exception is that it now  covers all published copyright works, regardless of the format of the original work. If an accessible version of a film or a sound recording were required then we can now make it.  There are still some checks and record keeping which must be maintained when using the exception but there is little doubt it will be a big improvement. For further information email:  copyright@ucl.ac.uk

Chris Holland, Copyright Support Officer

Link to IPO site