In a press release approving the British government’s initiatives on copyright reform, the Library set forth the principles it sees necessary for any reform. This is a good exercise for looking at reforming our own copyright laws. The Library’s principles are:
1. Many contracts undermine the public interest exceptions in copyright law agreed by Parliament to foster education, learning and creativity. Addressing this issue is crucial so that existing and new exceptions are not over-ridden by contract law.
2. Libraries must be able to make preservation of copies of the material they acquire, including web harvesting of the UK domain.
3. 40% of the British Library’s collections are Orphan Works (where the rightsholder can no longer be found or traced). A legislative solution to Orphan Works would help provide access to the UK’s large historical collections over the internet.
4. Researchers and libraries need to be able to make available ‘fair dealing copies’ of anything in their collections, including sound and film recordings that Fair Dealing does not currently relate to.
5. Computer based research techniques, such as scientific research, needs to be allowed by future copyright law, in the same way that in the analogue world research activity is protected through ‘fair dealing’.
You can find the full press release here. Thanks to Resource Shelf for the link.
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