archives-and-copyrightOn 27th September 2013, CREATe, in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust, the Archives and Records Association, and the British and Irish Legal Education and Technology Association, sponsored a symposium on Archives and Copyright which was co-organised by Professor Ronan Deazley and CREATe postgraduate researcher Victoria Stobo. A website, featuring video presentations and resources from the day is now available, including an interactive transcript of the event. The symposium proceedings will also be made available as a CREATe Working Paper.

The event was organised around four panels followed by an open discussion with the audience. The first panel introduced the Wellcome Library Digitisation Programme and its pilot project, Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics.  The second panel discussed the results from a six-month study of the Codebreakers initiative, the results of which are available in CREATe Working Paper 2013/10.

The focus of the third panel shifted to the current proposals for copyright reform within the UK as they affect the archive sector. Munn and Stout of the Intellectual Property Office addressed the proposed changes to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, with a response from Tim Padfield.  In the final panel the opportunity and scope for mass digitising archive material was considered from the perspective of US copyright law: the recent decision in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust was discussed; and the panel considered and dismissed adhering to a policy of strict copyright compliance or hoping for archive-appropriate law reform as strategies that were unlikely to provide a meaningful solution to the challenge of digitising archive collections.

We hope that the interactive transcript will provide a forum for further discussion as the legislative changes affecting copyright exceptions for libraries and archives take effect during 2014, and as the IPO consults on schemes and exceptions to tackle the Orphan Works problem. The Archives and Copyright site will continue to be updated with commentary and preliminary research findings throughout the linked PhD study: Archives, Digitisation and Copyright.

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