Orphans and Images Transcript
Hon. Mr Justice Arnold, Judge in charge of the Patents Court, UK High Court Chancery Division
Richard Boulderstone, Director, e-Strategy and Information Systems, British Library
Matthew Cope, Head of Digital Technology Team, UK Intellectual Property Office
David Hoffman, Lead Moderator, Editorial Photographers UK
Derek McAuley, Chief Innovation Officer (In Residence), TSB Connected Digital Economy Catapult
Ros Lynch, Head of Copyright Licensing Co-ordination Office, Copyright Hub UK
Jeremy Silver, Non Executive Director, Bridgeman Art Library
I did have an opportunity to look at the report today; I downloaded it, read the executive summary. I think it’s really helpful in terms of pointing out the incredible complexity there is around the world in dealing with this problem. And I can speak from a book perspective because we, the library, have digitised quite a few books. Although we have digitised several hundred thousand books, we have 15 million in our collections and for most people in the UK those books might as well not exist. Because in order to gain access you have to come to Euston Road, you have to get a reader’s card, you have to sit in the reading room, you have to order them up from our basements and you have to wait there until you get them.
I think in the digital age it’s amazing that – while we have the technology to provide access to all that material online – there are massive barriers to providing it, not least of which of course is the law. The cost just to digitise these materials when we do get that opportunity is pretty high anyway; it costs us about £200 to £300 per book to digitise it. We ourselves have not funded a digitisation project of books because we simply can’t afford it. The people we work with to digitise books are Google, Microsoft and a few others who have funded digitisation projects, but only sadly books of the 19th century. The notion of trying to clear rights particularly at any of these prices is just completely beyond our doing, it just takes too much time. And so I would urge us if we can come up with a mechanism to clear rights to make it as automatic, as fast and efficient as absolutely possible, because only when we get the cost of doing that down to a few pence per book are we going to get anywhere near a system that we can effectively use as a public sector organisation, and frankly a holder of the nation’s intellectual memory.