On peril, privilege and the copyright literacy UK tour


Dragon by T. Cowett licensed under CC-BY https://flic.kr/p/5TJKuF

It’s been a busy couple of week’s for us at UK Copyright Literacy Central. We’ve been writing up our research on librarians’ experiences of copyright for a journal article, editing a book chapter for the Routledge Companion for Media Education, Copyright and Fair Use, and working on a few presentations and proposals for up coming events. Yesterday we delivered a webinar for the European University Institute in Florence for a group of researchers and today we’re off to the University of Manchester to run a session as part of their PGCert module on Open Knowledge in Higher Education. We’ve developed a new workshop for academics to help them see the importance of copyright at various stages in their career, inspired in part by our new game the Publishing Trap.

We were also delighted to both be asked to write and editorial for UKSG’s eNews publication. My editorial on Peril and Privilege and why we all need copyright literacy is available already, and Chris’s is due to be published later today [Update – It’s now available here]. He’ll be responding to my points, writing about the creative tensions that copyright leads to, and how we work to overcome what might be seen as irreconcilable differences between rightsholders and the education community.

But back to peril (and if you’re wondering why I’ve included a picture of a dragon above see last week’s guest post from Mark Summers), I include some points from my editorial below:

‘Copyright is a topic librarians ignore at their peril’ was the headline from the December 2016 issue of CILIP Update as part of a review of two recent books on copyright for librarians by copyright greats in the library world and fellow colleagues on the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) committee Paul Pedley and Tim Padfield. Don’t get me wrong, these are incredibly important books, but ‘peril’ I found myself wondering, what sort of peril? I think copyright is important, it is after all what I spend half my job working on, but I wish headlines like this were not common in library literature. Of course copyright matters, but the idea that ignoring it will bring about peril is part of the problem with librarians’ love / hate relationship with copyright. We need to stop viewing it as something to be feared or that might get us into trouble.

I guess that was my key point, copyright is not a peril, yes it’s about risk, but risk can be managed and people should be supported and encouraged so they don’t do what many of us do when we don’t like something; avoid it! I went on (for those who know me, I can do that!):

Copyright is a subject that has fascinated me for most of my professional career. It would be fair to say that I fell into copyright work, but it’s become a deep relationship that for me lies at the heart of what librarians and information professionals stand for. I would be lying if I said I spent my time at library school reading up on copyright laws and studying it endlessly. Librarianship appealed to me because of the idea that I could help people get access to knowledge and information. This is still what still excites me about the profession; information and knowledge gives people choices, it empowers them, but it’s not just about information in a vacuum, it’s the ability to know how to use, analyse and make sense of information, but also to question what else is out there, what information hasn’t been found? Knowing how researchers engage with information and use it to underpin their work is really important. And when some information is behind a pay wall or collections are not online, copyright issues can potentially limit how people can use information. This for me is why information literacy is my real passion but, also why copyright issues and specifically copyright literacy, matters as much.

So it’s not really about copyright for me, it’s about access to information really, but anything that gets in the way of that, for me, needs to be tackled head on, as I said:

…. I became curious about why others seemed to avoid copyright. This led me and Chris to first survey and then carry out interviews with librarians to find out more about their professional experiences of copyright. The idea that many colleagues shy away from this topic and are fearful of it was worthy of investigation. We are finding out some pretty interesting things, that go beyond the simple idea that copyright is the law, and getting it wrong might land you in trouble. There seems to be something inherent in copyright that leads many librarians to be ideologically opposed to it. Is this because copyright laws are seen as restrictive, all powerful and largely about protecting the rights of big business, rather than the ordinary library user? We don’t know yet, however, I think the view that copyright restricts what you can do with information is why librarians need copyright literacy. In particular they need to be clear about copyright exceptions, as there are a whole series of them that relate specifically to activities librarians are permitted to do, from copying for preservation purposes and making accessible copies, to operating inter-lending services. We have a lot of privileges, and rather like librarians who champion for freedom of speech or who are anti-censorship, librarians need to be interested in copyright for political reasons.

So now we get to the heart of it, it’s political, it really matters, and I end my editorial by saying:

I recognise that copyright issues can be difficult and librarians sometimes feel personally responsible, however we need shift our focus back onto our underlying mission. It’s not us that matter! It’s about the communities and the people that we support and how they learn and develop. ….Librarians have an important role as copyright educators and champions of freedom, but they do not need to fear copyright, they need to embrace it as part of the wider information literacy initiatives they offer, to support and empower others.

So there you have it! I bet you can’t wait to see how Chris responds!

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!

Case study published on The Publishing Trap

We wrote a short blog post earlier in the year about the prototype game that we pitched at LILAC 2016, called the Publishing Trap. This week the CILIP Information Literacy group have published a case study about our game on their website. The games competition, Lagadothon is running at next year’s conference so they asked us to make a video to encourage others to enter the competition and tell you more about our game. Let us know what you think as our video is below.

The game was inspired by our work on Copyright the Card Game, and we decided to create a new game aimed at academics, PhD students and researchers to help them understand the scholarly communication process and the impact of the choices they make when disseminating their research findings.  The Publishing Trap won a runner’s up prize and the IL case study describes the aim of the game, how the game works and our ideas about the game to date.

Copyright literacy at ALT-C

It’s been a busy week as we were at the Association for Learning Technology’s annual conference in Warwick (ALT-C). On Wednesday Chris and I were presenting some interim findings from our survey carried out in February this year on copyright and IPR issues and lecture recording. We’ve made the slides available and had some great questions. We concluded that that lecture recording still is an evolving area where there are some uncertainties about what is and isn’t acceptable under copyright exceptions in UK law. However, our report, which is due to be published in a few weeks, also highlights that there are a variety approaches to copyright and IPR policies in HE currently, and that open practices are far less common than might be expected. Overall, we need some help and supportive guidance for the community here and to engage with academic colleagues so they can make informed choices over issues such as their own rights and consent, and the third party content they might want to use in lectures.

In addition, to catching up with friends and colleagues, I also gave a keynote on Thursday morning, which was a fantastic opportunity to speak to the learning technology community about the importance of developing their understanding of copyright, and not just relying on the ‘experts’ or specialists in their institution. You can watch a recording of the keynote on You Tube, so I won’t say much more here, but will write further reflections on my own blog in a few days, when I have come down from the ceiling.