Thing 19: The Legal Side of Things

copyrightI’m really glad this week’s topic is exploring the legal side of copyright and would also like to add a massive thanks to Caroline for her informative blog post which I think is a fantastic introduction to some of the issues to be aware of (I’m also reminded at this point how useful the Rudai 23 pinterest board is for collating all of this invaluable information). Without meaning to summon angry librarians with pitchforks to my door, I have to admit that it was only since I started my graduate traineeship that I ever even considered ensuring a work is referenced properly / checked for restrictions (excluding University essays!).

In an effort to redeem myself – I will point out that it is a topic I’ve found extremely interesting since I became aware of it. It became particularly prevalent almost a year ago, last October / November when a campaign called “#Catch 2039” was rippling through museums, archives, libraries and cultural institutes last year. You can read my blog post from last year about it here. I’ll sum it up briefly by explaining that tensions rising in the arts and heritage sector climaxed as the centenary of World War I approached and institutions across the country were prevented from displaying relics of the period. This was a sad thing for lots of institutions because they were severely restricted in curating and displaying material; many amazing artefacts like letters and journals were not permitted to be used and so remained gathering dust under lock and key away from public sight. Many establishments like the British museum for instance highlighted the issue by displaying empty display cases with a note saying:

“In this display there would have been *a letter from a First World War solider to his sweetheart*. Because of current copyright laws, in this instance, we cannot display the original. Join the campaign to free our history. We must reduce the term of copyright of unpublished works from 2039 to lifetime plus 70 years”.

It's a  tricky thing to police and it's admirable that organisations like WIPO (which I believe CILIP were granted "observer status" to last year) are in place to establish fair practice. Whilst Caroline's post highlighted the protection that artists and creators are rightfully experiencing, the #Catch2039 campaign reminds us of the flip side and the hindrances that can be caused by copyright laws which don't serve their society most efficiently.

When I look back to my university days and recall how seriously plaigerism was taken and how important proper referencing was, I feel silly for not considering that other media forms were similarly proptected. I do think this highlights the need for better education in schools about this - I certainly don't remember ever being taught anything about it and considering the evolution of the internet and media sharing, guidelines need to be taught to young people. Perhaps this is now a aprt of the curriculum, i'd be interested to know what "Subject" this would fall under.

Throughout my posts I've used a mixture of my own photographs, some off of my university stock photos database and admittedly, nearer the beginning, some from Pinterest. I wholeheartedly admit that in none of the above scenarios have I checked thouroughly enough, the implications of copyright law. I have been making some very niave assumptions! Now I reflect on this I just don't think I viewed images on sites like pinterest to hold the same rules as one you'd get in a book. I feel really silly admitting this now! 

I also made an assumption about the database of images that my university provides for its students - I wrongly assumed that because we can use them we don't have to worry about citing them but I must check if this is the case. 

Reading the terms of the creative commons highlighted an interesting point which I'd certainly never thought of before - protecting my own images which I use on my blog. To be honest I don't really think I mind people re-using my sunset images if they wish, I'm happy for the beauty of my area to be perpetuated but it's certainly something I didn't consider before now.

This "thing" has been a real learning curve for me, it's certainly changed my perspective for the better and I will continue to bear in mind the importance of re-using the intellectual property of others a little more mindfully. I'm a little gutted that the reference must be directly beneath the image, perhaps there's a way around this. I must investigate further! For now though I've had a quick flick around on some of the creative commons sites and have familiarised myself with the terms - using these two images has given me a bit of practice - I got the first one from the commons courtesy of the Welcomme Library and the first was from pixabay and didn't require any attribution.
V0010962 A angry mob of villagers protesting outside the house of a d Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org A angry mob of villagers protesting outside the house of a doctor, he responds by squirting a syringe at them. Watercolour. Published: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

V0010962 A angry mob of villagers protesting outside the house of a d
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
A angry mob of villagers protesting outside the house of a doctor, he responds by squirting a syringe at them. Watercolour.
Published: –
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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