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CREATe Public Lecture Series: Autumn 2023: Copyright History and the Corporate Psychology of Getty Images

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CREATe Public Lecture Series: Autumn 2023: Copyright History and the Corporate Psychology of Getty Images

By 12 October 2023November 1st, 2023No Comments
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We are delighted to announce the exciting programme for the CREATe Public Lecture Series: Autumn 2023. Our first two lectures concern copyright history. On 16 October, Prof. Lionel Bently (University of Cambridge) and Prof. Martin Kretschmer (CREATe, University of Glasgow) accompanied by an international panel of copyright history experts, will reflect on fifteen years of the digital archive Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), in a public lecture that also forms part of our specialist copyright history conference (already announced on this blog). Then, on 1 November, Prof. Isabella Alexander (University of Technology Sydney) will present aspects of her new copyright history monograph Copyright and Cartography (Bloomsbury, 2023) which, through close archival work with primary sources, charts the intertwined histories of mapmaking and copyright. The final lecture this term, by academic and film-maker Prof. Richard Misek (University of Bergen) seeks to open up the corporate psychology of Getty Images through an examination of its approach to copyright in relation to its commercial image library.


Title: ‘Fifteen Years of Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900): changing world views and what comes next’

Time and date: 5.30pm – 7pm UK time, Monday 16th October 2023.

Location: Hybrid event, held at the Advanced Research Centre, University of Glasgow.

Speakers: Lionel Bently (University of Cambridge) and Martin Kretschmer (CREATe, University of Glasgow), together with a panel of national copyright experts including: Patricia Akester (GPI-IPO), Jose Bellido (University of Kent), Marius Buning (University of Oslo), Elena Cooper (CREATe, University of Glasgow), Victor Drummond (Universidade Gama Filho), Jane Ginsburg (Columbia Law School), Friedeman Kawohl (CREATe Fellow), Magne Klasson  (University of Oslo), Joanna Kostylo (Jagiellonian), Frédéric Rideau (Université de Poitiers), Katie Scott (The Courtauld) and Stef van Gompel (Vrije Universiteit).

Abstract: The open access digital archive Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), www, was launched in 2008, making available original source material about the history of copyright law for five national sections – Great Britain, France, German speaking countries, France and USA – each curated by a specialist national editor. The stated aim of the project was to make available primary source material that (i) opened up alternative interpretations of copyright history, (ii) illustrated the interaction of copyright with commercial and/or aesthetic developments, and (iii) evidenced influences across jurisdictions. Fifteen years later, the digital archive now spans a total of ten jurisdictions – also, the Netherlands, Spain, Jewish sources, Portugal/Brazil and the Vatican – with a further section, Scandinavia, in progress. In this public lecture, the general editors of the archive – Lionel Bently and Martin Kretschmer – will chart the development of the digital archive over the past fifteen years, and look to its future, in conversation with a panel of the archive’s current national editors.


Title: Copyright and Cartography: History, Law and the Circulation of Geographical Knowledge

Time and date: 5.30pm – 7pm UK time, Wednesday 1st November 2023.

Location: Humanity Lecture Theatre, University of Glasgow.

Speaker: Isabella Alexander, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

Chair: Marta Iljadica, CREATe, University of Glasgow.

Commentator: Elena Cooper, CREATe, University of Glasgow.

TO REGISTER PLEASE GO HERE: CREATe Public Lecture Series – Autumn 2023: Lecture 2 (

Abstract: In this lecture, Isabella Alexander will present aspects of her recent open access book Copyright and Cartography (Bloomsbury, 2023) that explores the intertwined histories of mapmaking and copyright law in Britain from the early modern period up to the outbreak of World War I, focussing chiefly on the 18th and 19th centuries. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, and making extensive use of the archival record, this is the first historical account of the relationship between maps and copyright. As such, it examines how the emergence and development of copyright law affected mapmakers and the map trade, and how the application of copyright law to the field of mapmaking affected the development of copyright doctrine. Its exploration casts new light on the circulation of geographical knowledge, different cultures of authorship and creativity, and connections between copyright law, print culture, technology, and society.

Biography: Isabella Alexander is a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney, where she teaches and researches in intellectual property law and legal history. She is the author of Copyright and the Public Interest in the Nineteenth Century (Hart, 2018) and Copyright and Cartography: History, Law, and the Circulation of Geographical Knowledge. She is also the Chief Investigator on Australian Research Council Discovery Project Hacking Copyright in the 21st Century: Art, Law, History and Technology.


Title: Getty Images: copyright hawk or corporate copyleftist?

Time and date: 5.30pm – 7pm UK time, Monday 20th November 2023, in person.

Location: Lecture Theatre G59, Kelvin Hall, University of Glasgow, 1445 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AW

Speaker: Richard Misek, University of Bergen, Norway.

Chair: Bart Meletti, CREATe, University of Glasgow.

TO REGISTER, PLEASE GO HERE: CREATe Public Lecture Series – Autumn 2023: Lecture 3 (

Abstract: Getty Images is the largest commercial image archive in the world. It is also perhaps the most controversial. Many of the controversies surrounding it have hinged on copyright – especially the perceived aggression with which it has asserted its own intellectual property, as well as the perceived liberties that it has taken with other people’s intellectual property and moral rights. This lecture will build on his recent film ‘A History Of The World According To Getty Images’, which highlighted the ways in which Getty Images and many other archives monetise and actively restrict access to many thousands of public domain images. Drawing from my subsequent research on Getty Images, the lecture will look both wider and deeper into the hegemonic role of Getty Images within the image economy. It will explore a range of themes including: the company’s seemingly contradictory approach to copyright, as both a rentier and an appropriator; its current legal case against Stability AI; and the way it uses contracts to manage its own (and others’) intellectual property. By doing so, the lecture will aim to take initial steps in exploring Getty Images’ overall corporate psychology.

Biography: Richard Misek is a film-maker and scholar, whose work on the digital commons combines media production, audiovisual research, and activism. His films, the latest of which is A History Of The World According To Getty Images (2022), have screened at festivals including Sundance, Locarno, Hot Docs, and IDFA. He has led grant-funded research projects on public space in the metaverse (Unifob, 2022-23), digital access to arts and culture (AHRC, 2021-22), immersive nonfiction (AHRC, 2017-18), and the video essay (AHRC, 2015-16). He is a Professor in Screen Media at the University of Bergen in Norway.

*The banner background is a detail of the map The Road from Glasgow to Longtown by Hamilton, Douglass Mill & Moffat (1776) – mapmakers: Taylor, George, fl. 1760-1788; Skinner, Andrew, fl. 1760-1788 – available on the National Library of Scotland’s website and discussed in Prof. Isabella Alexander’s monograph Copyright and Cartography (Bloomsbury, 2023).