|Title:||Copyright in the real world: Making archival material available on the Internet|
|Citation:||Dryden, J.E., 2008. Copyright in the real world: Making archival material available on the Internet (Doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto).|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Akmon (2010), Morrison and Secker (2015), Stobo, Deazley and Anderson (2013)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The study uses data collected from 154 cultural repositories, from the websites and published policy documents of the repositories and also from responses to 106 questionnaires and 22 interviews with staff from those repositories.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
The purpose of this study is to investigate the practices of Canadian repositories in making their archival holdings available on the Internet to see whether they are more or less restrictive than copyright law requires. The Internet provides an opportunity to make archival material more widely accessible; however, repositories’ copyright practices in making their holdings available online may affect the extent to which wider access to archival material is actually achieved. The study employed four different sources of evidence, i.e., the website content of 154 Canadian repositories whose websites feature archival material from the repository’s holdings; copyright policy and procedure documents of those repositories; 106 responses to a questionnaire sent to the staff of those repositories; and 22 interviews with repository staff members. In terms of selection for online access, the study found that the repositories studied prefer to select items that are perceived to incur little risk of copyright infringement (because the copyright has expired or because the repository owns the copyright), or items that require few or no resources to investigate copyright status or obtain copyright authorizations. Thus, with regard to selection, repositories were more restrictive than the law required, largely due to lack of resources. Although repositories have no legal or professional obligation to enforce others’ copyright interests, they nonetheless attempt to control further uses of their online holdings through the use of technical measures (e.g., low resolution images, watermarks, etc.) or non-technical measures (e.g., conditions placed on further uses), for reasons not necessarily related to copyright. Overall, the study found that repositories’ practices in making their holding available online were more restrictive than copyright law envisages. While this may be due to factors other than copyright, access to online documentary heritage may be limited as a result.
Main Results of the Study
Making archival holdings available for research and encouraging their use are fundamental goals of professional archival practice. Canadian repositories have seized the Internet as a new opportunity for wider access to their holdings. From the perspective of copyright, they make selected holdings available on the Internet in an uncertain environment without expert advice, and without conducting exhaustive research to be sure of every expiry date or rights holder. However, 80% of the questionnaire respondents think copyright is a problem for archival repositories making their holdings available online. Consequently, they are more restrictive than copyright law requires, both in terms of what they select for online access and in terms of their attempts to control further uses of their holdings for reasons that are associated (rightly or wrongly) with copyright.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Copyright is widely perceived to be a problem when it comes to making cultural heritage available on the Internet, in that obtaining the necessary copyright clearances is often difficult and, according to digitization manuals, an item cannot be made available on the Internet without the appropriated permissions. The study examined a number of aspects of the copyright practices of Canadian archival repositories relating to making their holdings available on the Internet. There is some evidence that the “best” documents are not being selected for Internet access because repositories lack the resources needed to identify and obtain the necessary authorizations, or because repositories interpret copyright conservatively. In terms of further uses of online archival holdings, archival repositories, consistent with their onsite practices, want to control further uses of their online holdings in a “quasicopyright-like” way. However, there is also evidence that much of the perceived copyright “problem” lies in copyright law itself, because of its complexity and because repositories lack reliable up-to-date tools and resources to assist them in administering copyright. The findings have possible implications for archival practice and public policy which merit further investigation.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Cultural Heritage Institutions|
|Period of material under study:||2005 to 2006|
|Level of aggregation:||Individual|
|Period of material under study:||2005 to 2006|