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Digitising videos and the “Preservation exception”

Chris JHolland3 September 2015

This is an enquiry from one of the UCL Libraries: Would the “Preservation exception” contained in Section 42 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) cover the digitising of their extensive collection of historical videos? The videos were originally published in various countries and are not made available for loan.

The answer is that this collection is a good example of material in a superseded format which could  be digitised under the terms of the Preservation exception. The main conditions from CDPA Section 42(2) are that the “work” must be:

“(a) included in the part of the collection kept wholly or mainly for the purposes of reference on the institution’s premises,

(b) included in a part of the collection not accessible to the public, or

c) available on loan only to other libraries, archives or museums”

Despite the ambiguities we can assume that it is enough for one of the conditions to be fulfilled and archival video collections will usually tick the box.

There is a further condition that the exception only applies when it is “not reasonably practicable” to fulfill the preservation need by purchasing a digital copy – CDPA Section 42(3).

What can be done subsequently with the digitised copies is also governed by copyright law. The “Dedicated terminals” exception (CDPA Section 42) would permit the digitised videos to be made available within the Library. Following CJEU case law  (Ulmer v. Technical University of Darmstadt ) the Dedicated terminals exception might also cover the digitisation itself.

 

Darmstadt Revisited

Chris JHolland19 September 2014

The Court of Justice of the European Union gave its judgment in the case of the Technical University of Darmstadt and Eugen Ulmer on 11th September 2014. The case concerns the exception in the EU Copyright Directive which allows copyright works to be made available on “dedicated terminals” by libraries. This is topical in the UK because the dedicated terminals exception (DTE) was introduced as Section 40B of the Copyright, Patents and Designs Act 1988 in June.

The publisher Eugen Ulmer KG is taking legal action against the University, which has chosen to make use of the DTE in order to digitise and make available a recent history textbook published by Ulmer. In various respects this is a test case. The Court has answered the questions raised by the German court in a way which is similar to the view of the Advocate General’s Opinion (Blog post 2nd September 2014):

  • The fact that the publisher has offered a licence for the e-book version of the work does not mean that the University is subject to purchase or licensing terms, which would prevent it making the book available.
  • Member states may allow libraries to digitise works in order to make them available via dedicated terminals.
  • The DTE does not permit copying of the work by library users either in terms of printing or digital copies. It is simply an exception to the restriction on Communicating to the Public. However other exceptions may allow copying as long as the relevant conditions are met.

The case brings out interesting differences between UK and German copyright legislation, such as the condition under the German version of the DTE that the number of digital “copies” made available cannot exceed the number of paper copies purchased. There is also an emphasis of the concept of “adequate remuneration” for rights owners in the judgment – presumably provided via the German system of levies on copying equipment, which has no equivalent in the UK. At the moment we cannot be sure of the relevance the CJEU judgment has for UK libraries.

Dedicated Terminals – An Interesting Case

Chris JHolland2 September 2014

Among the changes introduced on 1st June 2014 was the Exception permitting libraries and archives to make digitised versions of published works available to the public via dedicated terminals. This has been viewed by the Intellectual Property Office as a practical means of making older, fragile material available.

In  German higher education the equivalent exception seems to be given a much wider interpretation and this is being tested by a case before the Court of Justice of the European Union (C117/13).

The Technical University of Darmstadt has chosen to use the exception, which has been available in German law for some time, to justify digitising the full text of recently published text books in order to make them available on dedicated terminals.

This has been challenged by a publisher, Eugen Ulmer, using a specific work as a test case. The German Federal Court has referred a number of questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

The Advocate General in his Opinion (which is preliminary and not always followed by the Court) has stated:

  • The University may digitise the work in order to make it available.
  • The publisher’s offer of a licence to use an e-book version makes no difference.
  • The exception does not include permission for users to copy the work, although that may follow from other exceptions – probably not stretching to digital copies.

The Court’s judgment is due on 11th September and should prove very interesting as the interpretation of this exception seems so different to that assumed in the UK.

Museums benefit from New Copyright Exceptions

Chris JHolland30 May 2014

It is interesting that some of the new copyright exceptions have been extended to benefit Museums specifically:

Preservation Copies
A good example is the updated Section 42 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) which permits libraries, archives and museums to reproduce copyright works for purposes of replacement and preservation. Not only does this exception now cover museums, it has also has also been widened to encompass copying of works in any format. This means for example that deteriorating film stock and fading photographs can now be reproduced (digitised) for preservation.
Dedicated Terminals
The other prominent example of the inclusion of museums is an entirely new exception in Section 40B of CDPA (new to UK  legislation that is – it is drawn from the EU Copyright Directive 2001/29/EC). This permits libraries, archives, museums and educational establishments to make a copyright work available on a dedicated terminal to members of the public for purposes of research and private study. Interesting that this is not limited to “non commercial” research, but then it does not permit copying.
Although not explicit in the wording of the new exception, the IP Minister, Lord Younger has made it clear that the primary purpose is to improve the availability of digitised copies of older copyright material which may be fragile and otherwise inaccessible to the public.
There is ongoing litigation in Germany involving a University which sought to rely on the underlying exception in EU legislation to justify making a recently published book available via “dedicated terminals” (Schulze v. Darmstadt). Various issues have been referred to the European Court of Justice (reference C-117/13). The outcome will be interesting.