New Copyright Guidance for Museums & Galleries + Copyright Awareness Hour Announcement

Copyright specialist and CREATe Industry Fellow Naomi Korn marks World IP Day with the launch of new Copyright Guidance for Museums & Galleries, and announces an upcoming Copyright Awareness Hour.


Museums are creators and commissioners of copyright works, consumers of content created by others, and custodians of collections in which they may or may not own the rights. How they subsequently identify, clear, manage and use these rights is an operational issue with potential high resource issues. If they choose to build business models on these rights, provide access and allow reuse, the way that they incorporate those rights within long term planning will ultimately impact upon strategic objectives. In particular, how organisations achieve the appropriate balance between charging and/or controlling access and re-use of their assets, and on the other hand, what is available openly and/or for free, is crucial and indicative of the challenges facing most publicly funded cultural heritage organisations in the UK. This is a pressing and complex issue, and one intrinsically linked to a number of internal and external drivers, competing agendas and challenges including:

• How to avoid dealing with rights issues on a piece meal basis, which reduces their ability to deal efficiently with rights, protecting and optimising their rights, and creating a holistic approach to rights management.
• Their digital strategic direction: the desire to communicate across multiple platforms of delivery, including social media, third party sites like Google platforms and Europeana
• Their appetite and approach to risk.
• Legislative requirements.
• Constant advances in digital technology & user expectations.
• Developments in licensing (specifically Creative Commons licences) and funding requirements.
• Working with staff, volunteers, contractors, interns and students.

Naomi Korn

I’m the Managing Director Naomi Korn Copyright Consultancy (NKCC), and we are growing team with a dozen of the top consultants in the country, as well as a full time project manager, Patrick Ibbotson. I originally trained as an Archaeologist and was an Assistant Curator of Prehistoric Archaeology and Copyright Assistant at the Israel Museum 1995-2000. I established NKCC in 2003, after having overseen copyright at the Tate from 2000 – 2003. I am the former Chair, Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) from 2013 – 2017. During this period, I led the reform of the UK’s copyright laws on behalf of the cultural heritage sector, which resulting in new UK exceptions to copyright in 2014. I was a Trustee of CILIP from 2015-18, I set the program and chair the CILIP annual Copyright Conference, and I’m a visiting lecturer at City University, University College London and Kingston University. In November 2017, I was appointed a CREATe Industry Fellow and in April 2018, I joined the HLF Framework Agreement as a Digital Rights Consultant.

I have worked in or with museums and other cultural heritage organisations for 23 years and I know the complexities of the issues relating to copyright and licensing. In terms of context, their aim is to collect, preserve, care for, study and exhibit cultural and scientific objects and specimens for the benefit of society and add depth to the cultural experiences of the public. Their collections are eclectic, numerous and fascinating and may contain a variety of items – including various objects, artworks, letters and photographs – published and unpublished, images and sound recordings.

The piece I have written about museums and copyright reviews these complex issues and suggests more efficient working practices for museums. This is crucial as museums are having to do more, with less, and need to ensure that they can effectively save money by being more efficient. As I have concluded in my article:

“This forms part of a much broader narrative about access to cultural heritage assets, and the interplay between marketing, monetising and free access. Copyright is at the heart of everything museums and galleries do. The decisions cultural heritage organisations make about their collections, how they provide access and to whom, need to be viewed through the lens of both operational impact, as well as strategic decision making about risk, access and responsibility.”

Join me on Friday 25th May, when I will be leading a Copyright Awareness Hour from 2pm to 3pm (GMT+1) through my Twitter account @NKorn with support from CREATe (@copyrightcentre) and Copyright User (@copyrightuser). During the hour, I will answer direct copyright questions and signpost useful resources for museums and cultural institutions.

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