Building bridges: taking Copyright the Card Game to Europe

Last week I was delighted to attend the EBLIDA-NAPLE conference in Strasbourg. Chris and I were invited to the conference by Vincent Bonnet the Director of EBLIDA last November, after giving a demonstration of the Publishing Trap to the EBLIDA expert group on Copyright and Information Law at CILIP.  For those not familiar with EBLIDA they are the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (so they are effectively the European version of IFLA). Sadly Chris couldn’t make the trip, but I hopped aboard the Eurostar very early last Wednesday morning to make the trip to Strasbourg, by way of Paris. Their annual conference and council meeting was taking place in beautiful Strasbourg on the French / German border and the first day also included a visit to the European Parliament, the launch of a campaign by Public Libraries 2020 in association with the MEP Library Lovers Group on 60 Books for Summer, and a drinks reception. It was almost 30 degrees in Strasbourg on Wednesday, so lovely to be in the cool of the parliament. We also had a dinner that evening in a local riverside restaurant. I managed to sit next to some Scandinavian librarians and also the keynote speaker for the next day’s conference, Professor Chris Welch from the International Space University (who knew such a thing existed, but it does and it’s in Strasbourg!). The conference theme was ‘libraries bridging borders’ and it was a great opportunity to meet librarians and those from library associations around Europe and realise how much we have in common. Plenty of the talks were about language and cultural issues and how libraries can act as bridges to build understanding within diverse communities.

I was there to build some bridges too and reassure the Europeans that plenty of us in the UK do want to work collaboratively, despite the Brexit vote. I took along the Publishing Trap, but the primary purpose of my workshop was to talk about the broader concept of copyright literacy and to encourage European librarians to come forward who might be interested in adapting and translating Copyright the Card Game. I spoke about the research into librarians experiences of copyright and how we have used the game in the UK for copyright education initiatives for librarians from across the sectors. I also gave everyone a chance to briefly play different rounds of the game, so they could see how it worked in practice. I ended with some ideas about how the game could be adapted for different copyright laws, explaining that it wasn’t simply a matter of translation, but that round one and two would need to be amended to cover whether a work qualifies for copyright protection and the exclusive rights of authors as set out in law. Round 3 on licences obviously needs to include relevant licences within each country, and round 4 on exceptions needs to include the specific exceptions to copyright that are each country’s legislation.

However, the heart of the game is the relationship between licences and copyright exceptions, and the idea of risk and this is something that was very topical at the conference. It was also a issue discussed last week at WIPO in the Standing Committee for Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR). The discussions at WIPO also focused on the publication of a report by Communia on educational licensing in Europe which was published in late March 2018. This study suggests that the UK have some of the most restrictive educational licences across Europe. Again, part of the reason for developing Copyright the Card Game was to ensure that licences wouldn’t be able to trump copyright exceptions. However, as we’ve seen over the past few years since the Hargreaves Review, there is still a degree of hesitancy amongst UK librarians about when they can rely on exceptions and when to use licences.

I hope that I might have encouraged some keen European copyright librarians to come forward to consider making adaptions of Copyright the Card Game. In the first instance, based on some of the contacts made at the conference I hope that we might be able to start off by creating French and German versions of the game. I hope I built some bridges in Strasbourg and I’m really grateful to Vincent for inviting us to Strasbourg last week.


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