This is a short summary from the meeting I attended last night at Westminster Hall representing WM-UK. The PICTFOR meeting was mainly attended by politicians, industry experts, publishers, academics and lawyers. I hope this might be of interest for some UK members who may not be all that aware of current recommended changes to copyright legislation.
I was invited to join the parliamentary information technology forum on 1st November for a discussion of the Hargreaves' review and to hear some expert evidence for and against it in the context of data mining. I was attending as a non-expert but interested in judging possible impact on WM-UK future activities.
Hargreaves was commissioned by the Prime Minister to examine the issues with Intellectual Property and recommend changes which there is now a commitment to adopt. My layman understanding is that Hargreaves' analysis was from an almost entirely economic perspective, with a focus on how a future market in digital IP licensing could create a trading market place of IP to encourage UK business, as well as making it easier to identify who the owner of any copyright is and deal with the issues of orphan works and simplify license terms.
Possibly good things:
- Though the recommendations avoid an equivalent to the USA's fair use, the changes would provide an exception for data mining in the UK where entire transient copies of works may be made for automated analysis this being considered to break copyright terms. This will enable significant areas of research which at the moment are hampered in the UK by having to negotiate specific deals with publishers for data mining. The CIO for Nottingham University gave a good example of the currently impossible task of having already paid £5 million to publishers for access rights to academic databases and then having to attempt to negotiate separate terms and additional charges with each publisher for the confused area of data mining.
- Simplifying license terms would be of benefit to all, particularly as the recommendation is that contract terms would not be allowed to override license terms, for example JSTOR's contract terms for non-systematic use would no longer be enforceable in the UK.
Possibly bad things:
- A number of publishers spoke out against the report, including the CEO of the Publishers Association, their concerns include that by allowing exceptions for datamining this would introduce a risk of their databases being insecurely mirrored in other countries and that the changes would reduce the benefits of them acting as a "maitre d'" for access to copyright material.
- From a Wikimedia cultural perspective the formation of a digital trading market will tend to default to allowing non-commercial use only, making more material impossible to use on our projects, and in the long term reduce the likelihood that digital collections could be used under a "no copyright known" rationale as such material would be likely to instead be exchanged on the basis of future speculative monetization that would ensure it always has a declared copyright owner.
There was time for social chat after the main meeting and I got to meet some interesting folks from the Pirate Party as well as copyright experts. As the recommendations are just that, it is hard to say how firmly they would be adopted or implemented. In the case of Wikimedia we can already side-step many issues in terms of how UK law might affect our projects, however if cultural institutions (such as the BFI and British Library) default to using the suggested "research use only" restrictions for digital archives, this may cause arbitrary restrictions locking out the reuse we would like to see available for hosting on Wikimedia Commons, Wikisource, etc. If the recommendations turn into firm proposals we may need to help some of our partners consider the impact of changes in their policies for long term public access and open knowledge.
4. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipreview.htm (The full report is available for download here)
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On 2 November 2011 10:25, Fae <[hidden email]> wrote:
> This is a short summary from the meeting I attended last night at
> Westminster Hall representing WM-UK. The PICTFOR meeting was mainly
> attended by politicians, industry experts, publishers, academics and
> lawyers. I hope this might be of interest for some UK members who may not be
> all that aware of current recommended changes to copyright legislation.
Top stuff, well done!
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