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Archives and Copyright: Developing an Agenda for Reform


WellcomeComposite_SeptemberAs copyright law continues to be a matter of real concern for the UK archive community, a symposium organised by CREATe, in association with the Wellcome Trust, addressed the proposed changes to current copyright legislation and examined the use of risk-management strategies by cultural heritage institutions.


DATE:  27 September 2013
TIME: 9am to 5pm
LOCATION: 6th floor, Wellcome Trust, 215 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE

Talking Heads

Collage of the Day (click to open larger image)

Archives & Copyright Collage

The first panel of the day provided an opportunity to learn more about the Wellcome Digital Library’s Codebreakers project, as well as other current and forthcoming digitisation initiatives being undertaken by the Wellcome Library. Speakers included Richard Aspin, Head of Research and Scholarship at the Wellcome Library; Christy Henshaw, Digitisation Programme Manager; and Caroline Herbert, former Copyright Officer. Lesley Richmond, Deputy Library Director and Archivist at the University of Glasgow, also discussed her experiences of working with the Wellcome Library as an external partner to the Codebreakers project.

In the second panel, Victoria Stobo discussed the risk management strategy adopted by the Wellcome Digital Library for the Codebreakers project, and the relevance it may have for other archives and cultural heritage institutions interested in making their holdings available online. David Mander, Vice-Chair of the Archives and Records Association, then led an extended Q&A session for the morning panels.

The proposed library and archives exceptions to UK copyright law are currently under draft review, and consideration of these forthcoming legislative changes occupied much of the discussion on the third panel of the conference program. Robin Stout and Nick Munn, of the Intellectual Property Office, presented some of the latest iterations of the draft exceptions, and also spoke to the government’s view of risk-based models of copyright compliance. Tim Padfield, Information Policy Consultant and former Copyright Officer of the National Archives, responded to both Robin and Nick’s comments on behalf of the UK archive community, and pointed out some of the current regime’s absurdities. Martin Kretschmer, as panel chair, offered a pragmatic perspective on the proposed Orphan Works scheme following the recently published Copyright and the Regulation of Orphan Works study.

The final panel saw Professors Peter Jaszi, Peter B. Hirtle and Matthew Sag discuss how cultural heritage institutions in the US work with copyright law, and in particular the ongoing Authors Guild v. Hathi Trust case (currently on appeal). Matthew Sag (Loyola University) discussed his experience working with lawyers, librarians and digital humanities scholars in preparing amicus briefs for Authors Guild v. Hathi Trust. Peter Jaszi (American University) spoke about his work with various creative and cultural sectors in the US – documentary film-makers, academic research libraries, and memory institutions – in developing best practice norms of copyright compliance and management that are appropriate for those sectors. And Peter Hirtle (Harvard University), author of Copyright & Cultural Institutions, concluded the event with a set of reflections on copyright and risk management in the cultural heritage sector.

Archives & Copyright was the culmination of CREATe Work Package 1B1: Copyright & Risk: Scoping the Wellcome Digital Library Project, a short case study designed to assess the Wellcome Digital Library’s use of a risk managed approach to rights clearance. Publication of the Copyright & Risk Project Report will follow the conference, ensuring that relevant comment and analysis from the day can be included. In addition, a set of conference proceedings in the usual CREATe style, incorporating videos, transcriptions, presentations and papers where available, will be made available as an open access web resource in early 2014. A linked PhD study (Archives, Digitisation & Copyright) began in September 2013, and it is hoped the Archives & Copyright web resource will continue to grow over and beyond the lifetime of the study.

The event was supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Archives & Records Association UK and CREATe.

Download printable copy of speaker bios.


0915 – 0950 Registration
0950 – 1000 Introduction
1000 – 1045
Chair: Richard Aspin, Wellcome Library
Christy Henshaw, Digitisation Programme Manager, Wellcome Library
Managing copyright for archives digitisation (Prezi online)
Caroline Herbert, former Content & Metadata Officer, Wellcome Library
DNA, detective works and dead ends: the reality of copyright clearance
Lesley Richmond, Deputy Director Library & University Archivist, University of Glasgow
Digitising everything? The view from the third party participants
1045 – 1115 Tea and Networking
1115 – 1200
Chair: David Mander OBE, Archives & Records Association UK & Ireland
Victoria Stobo, CREATe Research Assistant, University of Glasgow
Copyright & Risk: Scoping Codebreakers and the Wellcome Digital Library (Download)
Followed by a Q&A
1200 – 1300 Lunch
1300 – 1400
Chair: Prof. Martin Kretschmer, Director of CREATe, University of Glasgow
Robin Stout, Intellectual Property Office
Changes to copyright exceptions for libraries and archives (Download)
Nicholas Munn, Intellectual Property Office
Orphan works and extended collective licensing: some thoughts on the debate
Tim Padfield, Information Policy Consultant
The impact of copyright on archives
1400 – 1430 Tea and Networking
1430 – 1600
Chair: Prof. Ronan Deazley, School of Law, University of Glasgow
Prof. Peter Jaszi, American University, Washington College of Law
(Re)claiming fair-use
Prof. Matthew Sag, Loyola University, Chicago School of Law
Copyright and mass-digitisation (Download)
Prof. Peter Hirtle, Senior Policy Advisor to Cornell University Library and Research Fellow at the Berkman Centre, Harvard University
Learning to live with risk (Download)
1600 – 1630 Next Steps Plenary

The formal programme was followed by a drinks reception.

For further information, please get in touch.