British Library Worries That Copyright May Be Hindering Research

from the as-well-it-should dept

Michael Geist points us to the news that The British Library has apparently come out with a new report entitled Driving UK Research -- Is copyright a help or a hindrance? The paper brings together 13 different researchers to all share their opinions, and the general consensus appears to be that copyright today is a serious problem in need of reform (and, no, the "Digital Economy Act" in the UK didn't help at all). Basically, the key points are that copyright shouldn't be allowed to get in the way of research activities. As the overall report summarizes, four key suggestions for copyright reform come out:
  • calls for an extension to fair dealing provisions under UK copyright law to bring them into line with fair use doctrine in the US. One author addresses the difficulties of applying fair dealing provisions in the study of music and sound recordings.
  • allowing the use of 'orphan works'. One submission advocates that 'orphan works' be placed in the public domain.
  • enforcing creators' moral rights in order to preserve future creativity, and the need for exceptions to copyright law not being overridden by contract or by technical protection measures.
  • addressing the issue of text mining and data indexing in the context of the barriers posed by the existing copyright regime.
Funny, of course, that the Digital Economy Act, which was supposed to modernize UK copyright law didn't appear to address any of these points. Well, no, actually. Not funny. Depressing. But the concern here is both very real and very serious. As Dame Lynne Brindley, the CEO of The British Library notes:
There is a supreme irony that just as technology is allowing greater access to books and other creative works than ever before for education and research, new restrictions threaten to lock away digital content in a way we would never countenance for printed material.

Let's not wake up in five years' time and realise we have unwittingly lost a fundamental building block for innovation, education and research in the UK. Who is protecting the public interest in the digital world? We need to redefine copyright in the digital age and find a balance to benefit creators, educators, researchers, the creative industries -- and the knowledge economy.
The full report is below:


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    TamPuppet, Jul 28th, 2010 @ 6:27am

    "British Library Worries That Copyright May Be Hindering Research"

    They worry too much.

    "calls for an extension to fair dealing provisions under UK copyright law to bring them into line with fair use doctrine in the US. One author addresses the difficulties of applying fair dealing provisions in the study of music and sound recordings."

    Sure, if the author gives you permission then it's fair. Otherwise, it's unfair. Fair dealings are great with the authors permission first.


    "allowing the use of 'orphan works'. One submission advocates that 'orphan works' be placed in the public domain."

    No, if you're too lazy to find various authors then you shouldn't use their work. Maybe the authors don't want to be found and don't want you to use their work. If so then they would have never created the work if they had known you were going to use it. No, you can't use it, it will hinder progress and you are taking away the rights of the author.

    "enforcing creators' moral rights in order to preserve future creativity, and the need for exceptions to copyright law not being overridden by contract or by technical protection measures. "

    Technical protections are important. If there is a contract there is a contract. Don't like it, don't sign.

    "addressing the issue of text mining and data indexing in the context of the barriers posed by the existing copyright regime. "

    There are no barriers and if there are those barriers are important. They protect the artist.

    "We need to redefine copyright in the digital age and find a balance to benefit creators, educators, researchers, the creative industries -- and the knowledge economy. "

    Sure, more copyright. That will fix everything.

     

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  2.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 7:14am

    Re:

    You forgot

    "there must be something more to this story"

    I know it doesn't really fit the topic - but then that never bothered TAM/lc coward

     

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  3.  
    icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 7:16am

    Helioselection

    Hey Mike, I've always been mildly curious as to whether you're helioselective with the timing of your articles.

    Do you tend to keep UK articles for the UK daylight hours, and the US ones for the US daylight hours?

    Moreover, do you select publication times to optimise for readership or commentary/citation/tweeting?

     

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  4.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 7:44am

    Re: Helioselection

    "whether you're helioselective with the timing of your articles."

    I thought I was the only one to notice that. Its consistant but not enough to seem planned. If he says he doesn't, its probably done in an unconscious, or pavlovian style trained manner. Unconcious optimization, we all do it.

     

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  5.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Helioselection

    He's probably asleep. ;-)

     

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  6.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 9:01am

    Re: Helioselection

    Hey Mike, I've always been mildly curious as to whether you're helioselective with the timing of your articles.


    Eh. Not really. Sometimes. If I think about it, which is not that often.

    Do you tend to keep UK articles for the UK daylight hours, and the US ones for the US daylight hours?


    Again, every so often, if I think about it, I might hold a UK-specific article for UK-specific timing, but not very often.

    Moreover, do you select publication times to optimise for readership or commentary/citation/tweeting?


    That, I do a little bit more. It depends though. Some stories are breaking and go up faster. Some stories I figure "well, maybe I should save this for tomorrow morning" or whatever. Some stories I hang onto for months. :) No hard and fast rules.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    darryl, Jul 28th, 2010 @ 9:04am

    Copyright is at the heart of our successful knowledge economy.

    Copyright is at the heart of our successful knowledge economy. In the 21st century, access to technology, information and knowledge are the key to economic success and are governed by our current copyright laws.
    Copyright has successfully maintained a balance in the public interest for creators and researchers for 300 years –yet copyright is under threat in the digital age.


    How come that was not your headline ??

    Oh thats right,, its not negative enough.

    Its not a report, its a booklet, its a very small, number of selected people ask to comment. (but few real authors).

    No one there is saying that copyright is bad, they are saying that like all laws, with time they needs tuning or tweeking to keep up with the times.

    The big thing these guys wanted was "fair Dealing/use" they have that, essentually..

    So this is not the library worrying about copyright, or what "MIGHT" happen.

    But I note, Mike you cannot seem to remove your bias, no matter the situation..

    I wonder if you expect people to follow your links and check your bias, and your conclusions ? or do you expect us just to take your, or Geists, or Sweatowitz's word for it.


    It appears all you do mike is copy other peoples artices and spew them out here, its hard to work out if you actually create any of your own content, or where the content comes from.

    Sometimes I forget im here, and think im back at Boycott Novell, or OPEN, you all seem to create exactly the same stuff.. I find I can read these 'articles' from a number of sources, and still not know the correct origin of them.


    Copyright is at the heart of our successful knowledge economy. In the 21st century, access to technology, information and knowledge are the key to economic success and are governed by our current copyright laws.
    Copyright has successfully maintained a balance in the public interest for creators and researchers for 300 years –yet copyright is under threat in the digital age.


    British library worries !!!!..

    Where is the worry, are they worried that copyright might go away ?? look like it.

     

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  8.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Helioselection

    oops ... thanks ... Subconscious optimization ... :)

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2010 @ 9:28am

    Re: Copyright is at the heart of our successful knowledge economy.

    It is amusing how bad you are at reading.

     

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  10.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 9:29am

    Re: Copyright is at the heart of our successful knowledge economy.

    I suggest you actually read through the articles. Mike's headline is a fair summary of their content.

    The part you quote in bold is an introductory pre-amble - it isn't the main thrust of the section that it introduces : which is:

    Let’s not wake up in five years’ time and realise we have unwittingly lost a fundamental building block for innovation, education and research in the UK. Who is protecting the public interest in the digital world? We need to redefine copyright in the digital age and find a balance to benefit creators, educators, researchers, the creative industries – and the knowledge economy

    Plus it doesn't even mean what you seem to think it means.

    "Copyright is at the heart of our successful knowledge economy."

    doesn't imply that copyright in any way makes the economy successful.

    Just like "Rob Green is at the heart of the English football team".

    The last paragraph is positive about copyright - but in a limited way and only refers to the past.

    Where is the worry, are they worried that copyright might go away ?? look like it.

    No - they are worried that Copyright, and especially efforts to enforce it by technical means, may damage research and scholarship in the future.

     

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  11.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 9:31am

    Re: Copyright is at the heart of our successful knowledge economy.

    The big thing these guys wanted was "fair Dealing/use" they have that

    Could you elaborate on that? In the U.S. we see fair use fairly well castrated with the DMCA. With the take down process, the complainant needs no verified evidence of infringement to force a site's removal (at least with many ISPs).

    I'm guessing the U.K.'s Digital Economy act will not be stemming spurious infringement allegations any time soon. So I'm not sure just what you mean by 'fair Dealing/use, they have that".

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2010 @ 9:51am

    > Who is protecting the public interest in the digital world?

    The pirates are.

     

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  13.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 9:55am

    Unless the "research community" starts taking out Lord Mendleson, and other key MP's, out on extravagant weekend getaways, I doubt they'll be able to effect any change. Sadly, Parliment, much like the US Congress, seems to only responds to heavy lobbying. Sorry to be a downer.

     

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  14.  
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    Peet McKimmie (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 10:00am

    "The full report is below:"

    No, it isn't.

     

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  15.  
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    Peet McKimmie (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 10:00am

    "The full report is below:"

    No, it isn't.

     

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  16.  
    icon
    Peet McKimmie (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 10:03am

    Re: "The full report is below:"

    Apologies for the double-post; it was a browser glitch. @'.'@

     

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  17.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: "The full report is below:"

    thanks for the third post explaining the previous two :)

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Pyrate, Jul 28th, 2010 @ 1:07pm

    Influx

    You can cut the influx of Copywrong shills with my coffee cup.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Mr Big Content, Jul 28th, 2010 @ 5:02pm

    Ignore The British Library

    They’re just trolling. Remember: do not feed the trolls!

     

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  20.  
    icon
    Peet McKimmie (profile), Jul 29th, 2010 @ 2:46am

    Re: Re: Re: "The full report is below:"

    You';re very welcome. ;-D

     

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