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Symposium Challenges Copyright Law Exceptions for Archives


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Archives are our cultural and scientific memory. For example, the Wellcome Library’s Codebreakers website explores the race to crack our genetic code, and showcases the real lives of the scientists involved. The Library aims to have 30 million images online by 2020, to encourage new areas of research and bring the biomedical sciences closer to a curious public.

Proposed legislative changes to exceptions in copyright law for archives and libraries are provoking concern within the cultural heritage sector, a sector that includes world-renowned archives, libraries and museums, including the National Archives, the British Museum and the Wellcome Library.

Without utilising the copyright exceptions under legislative review, the Wellcome Library have adopted a risk-managed approach to copyright compliance, and made over two million images of archive and library material available online in a landmark digitisation project.

CREATe is organising a symposium to examine and promote the use of risk-management strategies by cultural heritage institutions, a sector which has historically been risk-averse when utilising copyright law exceptions. The event will be held at the Wellcome Trust, London on Friday 27th September 2013.

Professor Ronan Deazley, research lead of the CREATe archives programme said “This is a great opportunity for all those involved in digitisation to come together to discuss some of the difficult issues that are facing those seeking to open access to members of the public. CREATe will continue to work in this area to make it easier for libraries, archives and others to open up their resources.”

The proposed library and archives exceptions to UK copyright law are currently under draft review, and consideration of these forthcoming legislative changes will occupy much of the discussion on the third panel of the conference programme.

Experts from the UK and the US will provide a comparison of archival copyright practices. They will examine the various problems the current copyright regime presents for archives undertaking mass digitisation projects, and showcase ideas around solutions to the types of problems commonly encountered by cultural heritage institutions who attempt to make their collections available online.



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