Copyright: What concerns you? What would you ask Tim Padfield?

Tim Padfield, a widely recognised expert in the field of copyright is speaking at the conference next Wednesday. Delegates will have an opportunity to ask him about various points of copyright law but also address issues that concern archivists coping with access to and dissemination of material in digital environments. If you were able to ask Tim a question regarding copyright and archives, what would it be? Post your questions as comments and hopefully Tim will be able to answer some of them!


8 responses to “Copyright: What concerns you? What would you ask Tim Padfield?

  1. What role is there for creative commons licenses ( to be used by archivists to help open up archival materials?

  2. Are archivists too conservative in their compliance with copyright law, especially for material accessed digitally?

  3. To what extent are copies of digital images created in other countries but held by UK institutions subject to UK copyright law, copyright law in the country of origin (where it exists) and to international copyright law?

    • Lynda
      If the copies are in the UK they are subject to UK law and none other. However, if the duration of copyright in the source country (other than an EEA member state) is shorter than the duration under UK law copyright will expire after that shorter period. UK duration applies to all works of EEA origin even if the term is shorter in the country of origin. International copyright law does not have direct effect; it consists of treaties between countries and is brought into effect by national legislation.
      Section 111 of the 1988 Act allows a rights owner to ask HMRC to prevent the import of infringing copies of copyright works, and the goods can be seized. infringing copies cannot be seized if they imported only for private or domestic use.

  4. Kiara
    I hope I answered this adequately in my session. Just to recap: Creative Commons is designed for the publication by authors of their own works, and is very good for that since it is easy to understand and use and the licence is always attached to the work. However, without permission from every rights owner it must not be used for the publication of material in third party copyright (ie a large proportion of archival records) since that would infringe. Also, you cannot limit the use to a particular group (eg education) or country (it is worldwide), you cannot prevent use to endorse a product or body, even if you consider them inappropriate or even repugnant, and it is irrevocable so you would undermine your own market if you later wished to exploit the material commercially. Finally, it is not yet certain that a CC licence is enforceable in the UK; the courts have yet to be asked to decide.

  5. Martin
    I suppose the answer to your question depends on your attitude to the law. It is certainly true that much of society now finds it acceptable to infringe others’ copyright. The law, and business models, might need to adapt to reflect that. Nevertheless, infringement of copyright is still effectively a form of theft, and on-line infringement is considerably more damaging, as I said in my talk, than paper-based infringement. I think archivists are risk-averse and I find it helpful that they are so when I discuss copyright issues with rights owners because that attitude makes it more likely that rights owners will accept archivists as trusted intermediaries. In my view archivists should consider the risks and the potential damage from infringement and decide what to do on that basis; with much archival material both might well be minimal, and there might even be an exception already that helps. At the same time we should continue to seek changes to the law that enable us legitimately to provide the services that we wish, and are now expected, to provide. As I said, I think there is a fair chance of some beneficial changes soon.

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