The Symposium was organised around four related panels, followed by an open discussion with the audience.

Codebreakers and Clearing Rights

Click on the link above to see videos of the presentations. The first panel introduced the Wellcome Library Digitisation Programme and its pilot project, Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics. The discussion explored why and how the Wellcome Library developed their risk management strategy for making copyright-protected material available online, as well as the practicalities of clearing rights adopting a risk-based model, and of collaborating in a mass digitisation project as a third-party partner archive. 

Copyright and Risk

Click on the link above to see videos of the presentations. This panel discussed the results from a six-month study of the Codebreakers initiative. The study examines the merits of, and problems encountered by, taking a risk-managed approach to rights clearance, and draws upon data collected at the Wellcome Library, as well as interviews with key Codebreakers project staff at the Wellcome and the partner archives. The results of the rights clearance process were considered in relation to other cognate projects and studies, and the policies and processes developed by the Wellcome to manage the digitisation and clearance process, including their risk criteria and takedown policies, were explained and discussed. 

Archives and Copyright: the UK perspective

Click on the link above to see videos of the presentations. 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 presented an overview of recent work towards realising the recommendations of the Hargreaves Review, while specifically addressing the proposed changes to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. In particular, they emphasized the willingness and desire of the IPO to engage with informed stakeholders and constituencies – such as the archive sector – about the nature and implementation of copyright reform, and stressed the value and importance of providing the IPO with reliable data about the reality of copyright clearance and diligent search within an archival context. 

Archives and Copyright: the US perspective

Click on the link above to see videos of the presentations. In the fourth and 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, where District Judge Harold Baer Jr held that the mass digitisation of library books to enable access by persons who are blind or visually impaired, and to facilitate certain non-expressive uses of those materials (for example, for data or text mining purposes) did not amount to copyright infringement; but constituted fair use under s.107 of the US Copyright Act 1976. 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. Instead, the panellists advocated greater reliance upon fair use in justifying archival digitisation initiatives (for US-based archivists), as well as a more general recalibration of the global archive community’s attitude to risk and the culture of copyright permissions.