UK Copyright Literacy goes Stateside

I’ve been lucky enough to spend a week in the US, attending and presenting at the ACRL conference which is the Association of College and Research Libraries, and a part of the American Library Association. I was primarily here to present on information literacy, but decided to submit a lightning talk proposal on our research into librarians’ experiences of copyright. It’s 20 slides in 5 minutes so a real whizz through all the work we’ve been doing. But great to share the copyright literacy work with a new audience. And this is also exciting because a librarian in the US, Paul Bond, has been working on adapting Copyright the Card Game for US Law and I am hoping to meet him later today. Anyway my slides are available and in honour of the trip, the UK Copyright Literacy logo has got a new look for the week!

New CREATe working paper and copyright education symposium resources

‘Copyright Education’ – Original illustration by Davide Bonazzi for

‘Copyright Education’ – Original illustration by Davide Bonazzi for

We were delighted to be approached by CREATe a few months ago about publishing our report ‘Lecture recording in higher education: risky business or evolving open practice’ as one of their working papers. I’m very pleased to say that this is now available on the CREATe website. I’m also looking forward to speaking about the research at the OER17 conference in a few weeks time.

In addition to this CREATe have created a page of resources from last year’s Copyright Education Symposium (including Chris’s report of the day) which is now online. Chris spoke on a panel at the event, and I acted as a rapporteur for one of the discussion groups. They have a short survey out for those who attended or might be interested in this topic, to help them plan the next Copyright Education Symposium. It’s great that this could become a regular event.

Finally we’ve just started some further research into the provision of dedicated copyright support in educational and cultural institutions, so hope to add to the evidence base later in the year. We’re working with Philippa Hatch from Imperial College and hope to be launching our survey in the next few days – watch this space!

Image manipulation and avoiding copyright infringement: a useful resource

Follio image

Infographic created by and reproduced with permission

We’ve recently found a useful Infographic from Follio who run a website, primarily selling art works. However they have produced a handy (and attractive) infographic on image manipulation and how to avoid copyright infringement. It focuses on US law but does also include some details about UK law. It also considers the tricky issues of what ‘originality’ and ‘substantial use’ are whilst providing some handy visual cues as to what these look like in practice.

In order for a work to be protected by copyright it must be ‘original’, however this doesn’t mean that it has be entirely novel. This means two images that look quite similar can be two independent original copyright works. Similarly copyright infringement only occurs when someone uses a ‘substantial’ part of someone else’s work without permission. However we all know that we are inspired by the work of others – that’s how art and culture works.

So the question of what is original is really key and when we use works of art, knowing what is substantial is very different to when we might quote an extract from a book or journal article. You can see the infographic in it’s full glory on the Follio website. We would also recommend checking out the advice for visual artists which answers questions directly from the creative community in a clear and engaging way.

Copyright, the future and Brexit

iCopyright exceptions: the jigsawWe’ve now been to two recent events on the future of copyright in the UK following our exit from the European Union. Whatever your views on Brexit, and like many in HE we were firmly in the remain camp, we can’t deny it will happen. However in recent years much of UK copyright legislation has been amended following directives from the European Union. And there are important new changes going through the European Parliament currently on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. On 12 January 2017, the Commission’s proposal was debated by the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) And just today EIFL issued a statement on the need for copyright reform across Europe, supporting the statement issued by five key organisations (including LIBER, and the European Universities Association) on ‘Future-proofing European Research Excellence‘. This statement similarly calls for more change to copyright to give Europe a real opportunity to become a global leader in data-driven innovation and research.

So what does the future hold for copyright in the UK? In October last year I was interested to read this blog post from Professor Alison Harcourt of Exeter University. However, we thought we would share a few thoughts from recent events. Firstly in October last year we attended a meeting at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to discuss the copyright implications of Brexit on the higher education sector. Then earlier this week a conference organised by the Journal of Intellectual Property, Law and Practice (JIPLP). Both events were an opportunity to understand more about how important copyright and IP are particularly in the context of international trade but also the increasingly global education offered by the UK. In both meetings all agreed that following Brexit the UK would not have the same relationship with the Court of Justice of the EU, but no one was clear if decisions of this court might be taken into account by English judges. There were references here to important cases on issues such as whether hyperlinking is copyright infringement (see Svensson, BestWaterGS Media and a helpful table of the implications by Dr Eleonora Rosati here) or the provision of content on dedicated terminals in libraries (see TU Darmstadt v Eugen Ulmer KG). If you are interested in reading more and keeping up to date with copyright and intellectual property issues, the IP Kat blog is a good source of information and commentary.

However what is clear is that not only does Brexit mean Brexit (and of course we all know exactly what that means) it also means we are unlikely to get a new copyright act in the UK any time soon. This is despite the view of Sir Richard Arnold, British High Court of Justice judge, that we are much in need of one. On Monday he gave us eight reasons why the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended and revised) was long overdue a major overhaul, technology being his first reason and Brexit being the last. This last reason was a recent addition – for the original list of seven reasons see his Herchel Smith IP lecture from 2014. However he concluded by saying that copyright is unlikely to be a priority for parliament over the next few years.

So in these dark, rather depressing January days is there any light on the horizon? The IPO suggested Brexit might be an opportunity to rethink copyright and make it fit for the UK. The lobbying work of organisations such as EIFL and Communia are hoping to convince Brussels that reforming copyright to support education and research is vital. We would like to think that those within the research and education world might be able to play a significant role in shaping the future of copyright in the UK. But it remains to be seen….

Have yourselves a Merry Christmas!

uk-copyright-lit-santaThis is going to be the last post for 2016 as we wind up for the year. I hope this year has been kind to you. It’s certainly been a year of highs and lows politically. Who knows what impact Brexit might have on the UK’s copyright and IP framework? It still seems a strange irony to have attended the CREATe festival on the day the referendum results came out, and we’ll never forget the emotional reaction of the great and the good from the copyright world. No-one was suggesting that the European copyright regime was perfect or that there weren’t real tensions between various groups. However the result created major uncertainty not just for project of harmonisation itself, but also the friends and colleagues from throughout Europe and the rest of the world who have contributed so much to an environment where information and knowledge can be created and disseminated on a sustainable basis.

However, despite these challenges, in the world of copyright education you have to keep ploughing on. Our study of librarians’ experiences of copyright continues to be illuminating and reassuring, as are the reactions from colleagues who understand the importance of copyright to the information and education worlds and continue to find new ways to spread the word. But the day to day reality in higher education is still one where copyright is an after thought and many copyright officers feel that they are being asked to take responsibility for the actions of others. Let’s hope if we continue to make enough noise about it, that might start to change. And we have been making plenty of noise on a whirlwind tour of conferences and events from Glasgow, Dublin, London and Coventry to Prague. Lecture recording and copyright even saw us feature in the Times Higher a few weeks back

So we end the year on an optimistic note and a happy one after the lovely review of Copyright and E-learning by Andy Horton featured yesterday on the ALT blog. We also celebrated with a copyright games party yesterday at University of Kent. Have a lovely break and may copyright literacy continue to flourish and grow in 2017!

Lecture capture: risky business or evolving open practice?

It’s been a busy end to the year, with Chris presenting at the Learning On Screen AGM on 2dn December and then us both presenting yesterday at the final Heron User Group meeting on the lecture recording survey we recently carried out. The slides are available Lecture recording surveybut we were delighted to also be featured last week in the Times Higher Education Supplement, where they ran a short story on how universities are uncertain about lecture recording copyright issues. I’m not sure I would agree that universities are uncertain, but lecture recording certainly raises a lot of copyright and IPR issues, which do need to be resolved and the guidance that is provided to staff needs to be timely, clear and supportive. We hope to be able to work with other copyright officers to develop some good practice over issues such as the inclusion of images, and short video clips in recorded lectures. That guidance needs to be practical when it comes to interpreting the law and the copyright exception, Illustration for Instruction. It was useful to have our colleagues from CLA hear the presentation yesterday and we look forward to discussing this with them further in the new year.

Two reviews of Copyright and E-learning

book-launch-authorsWe were delighted to see two reviews of Copyright and E-learning published this week in the open access peer reviewed, Journal of Information Literacy and on the prestigious IP Kat blog. Both reviewers were complimentary about the book, so thanks to Andrew Eynon who wrote the JIL review, however I’m not sure we will live down being referred to as the Sonny and Cher of UK copyright as per Andrew Grey’s review on the IP Kat blog. The book continues to sell well but we have both been delighted with the nice comments we have had from colleagues and fellow copyright officers who have told us how useful the book is. If you haven’t bought your copy then we have a discounted flyer available and don’t forget you can read Chapter Six on copyright education on open access. Enjoy December, we have a couple more events before the end of the year including a visit to Canterbury Christchurch on the 13th December.

Lecture recording, copyright and IP: risky business or evolving open practice?

In September we presented the interim findings from our lecture recording survey at the ALT-C conference, which was carried out earlier this year to investigate copyright and IP policies at higher education institutions. There was a lot of interest in reading the final report at the conference which we have been battling to finish ever since then, which involved grappling with Excel, the survey data and the policy analysis.

Thirty three institutions from a good range of Russell Group, post-92 and other universities responded to the survey. We followed up the survey with a policy analysis based on 11 documents collected from a sub-set of the respondents.

Lecture recording surveyOur report is finally now available and we are grateful to Juliana Rios-Amaya who was a research assistant at LSE Learning Technology and Innovation over the summer and worked hard on the analysis and drafting of the report. Thanks to everyone who helped make this research possible including: Philippa Hatch (Imperial College), Alex Fenlon (University of Birmingham), Charlotte Booth (University of Reading), Carol Summerside (Newcastle University), Helen Cargill (Kings College London), Phil Ansell (Newcastle University) and Scott McGowan (Keele University) who helped devise the survey. Also thanks for John X Kelly, Lizzie Gadd and Ronan Deazley for commenting on earlier drafts.

Rios-Amaya, J., Secker, J. and Morrison, C. (2016) Lecture recording in higher education: risky business or evolving open practice. LSE / University of Kent. [PDF]

Executive Summary:

Reports on a survey into the copyright and intellectual property (IPR) policies of UK higher education institutions with regards to lecture recording. The practice of using institutional semi-automated lecture recording systems is becoming mainstream with 71% of institutions reporting using it in 2016 (UCISA, 2016). However, these systems raise a number of issues related to copyright and IPR that in some cases are documented in specific policy documents. Issues that arise include the consent that is obtained from academic staff, the ownership of the resulting outputs and responsibility and advice given for the use of third party content in the lectures. These issues are also often linked to, or conflated with wider ethical issues such as identity, privacy and academic freedom. The findings from the survey are presented alongside a policy analysis of IPR documents and policies from 11 institutions. These are compared to the guidance provided by Jisc (2015). The findings from the survey reveal that most institutions are still developing their IPR policy with regards to lecture recording, that many institutions seek consent from lecturers, but there is an increasing move towards making lecture recording opt-out as opposed to opt-in. The survey revealed in 94% of cases the lecturers or presenter is responsible for any third party content contained within their lecture and while institutions do offer advice about dealing with third party content, much of it is delivered in a relatively passive way, through agreeing to use the system or by information made available online in guides. The findings from the policy analysis suggest that those institutions with a high level of institutional control tend to have a higher level of comprehensiveness of approach towards lecture recording. Additionally the institutions that provide a higher level of support for copyright advice, have a tendency towards open practice and higher levels of appetite for risk. Good practice advice for institutions and recommendations for further research are presented as part of this study.

Librarians’ experiences of copyright: from anxiety to empowerment

Image by Kristina Alexanderson CC-BY

Image by Kristina Alexanderson CC-BY

This week is open access week and how timely that the recent article we wrote in the journal ALISS Quarterly is available on open access via the Kent open access repository (KAR) and LSE Research Online.

In the article we discuss some of the findings from the focus groups we carried out earlier this year to explore librarians’ experiences of copyright, to understand more about the variations that exist. Why do many librarians shy away from copyright, while others revel in it and become passionate about the subject, so much so they almost turn into copyright geeks like us? We wanted to find out more because this should surely help us to support others better, when planning workshops. We used the research method phenomenography and we briefly describe this approach in the article and the emerging findings. A longer journal article is planned for next year however so watch this space.

UK Copyright Literacy at ECIL in Prague

img_4304I’m really excited to be presenting at the European Conference on Information Literacy which this year is being held in Prague from 10th -14th October. We view ECIL as the spiritual home of copyright literacy, as this was where I first heard about the work of Tania Todorova and her colleagues, back in 2014 in Dubrovnik. Last year Chris and I presented on the UK survey results in Tallinn, and this year I’m returning to present our latest research, exploring the experiences of UK librarians of copyright, using phenomenography. It’s still early days – we carried out 3 focus groups in higher education and have been juggling work and some pretty intensive data analysis. As neither of us had used phenomenography before we are grateful to the help and advice we received from Emma Coonan and Lauren Smith, as well as several very useful articles they pointed us to. I’m sharing our slides from the ECIL presentation which I am due to give on Tuesday morning. It will also be great to catch up with Tania, Serap, Joumana and several of the people who undertook the survey in their own country.

Back to phenomenography, we have created four ‘Categories of Description’ and have a first draft at an ‘Outcome Space’. If this means nothing to you, then have a read up about phenomenography in the article by Christine Yates in our reference list. What is clear is that copyright is experienced in quite a number of different ways by librarians, and this depends on a number of factors. In some cases this relates to their role and the context they are working in, but it’s also affected by their ideological stance, the support they receive from senior management and of course how much training and knowledge they have about copyright matters. These cut across our categories and are called  ‘Dimensions of Variation.’ However, although there are a number of categories and dimensions, the thing that’s interested us the most is the emotional response to copyright – fear, anxiety, boredom or even excitement that many librarians described to us in the survey. Some of their other experiences are then related to their attempts to deal with the fundamental tension that copyright laws can create. It’s seen as a problem to many, as something that gets in the way of the job librarians have chosen, which is all about providing access to information. The second category recognises the complexity of copyright, and the need to have specialist knowledge to understand it. In this category the librarian often plays the role of pointing people to others or to information that might help. In the third category, understanding copyright and being able to simplify and communicate it effectively to others is an important part of librarian’s role. Finally, in our fourth category copyright is experienced as an opportunity for collaboration, where librarians are working with researchers or an enquirer to help them interpret copyright laws and negotiate what might be possible. This collaboration involves co-creation of understanding, and enables information professionals and their institutions to expand possibilities for providing access to information in an uncertain and changing environment. Here the idea of developing a copyright ‘community of practice’ can be really helpful.

We’ve still got some way to go before finalising our research, but hope to write it up as a journal article by the end of the year. We’d welcome any feedback you have and I hope to have some really interesting discussions with colleagues in Prague about the direction this is heading in!