|Title:||A Culture of Copyright: A scoping study on open access to digital cultural heritage collections in the UK|
|Citation:||Wallace, A. (2022). A Culture of Copyright: A scoping study on open access to digital cultural heritage collections in the UK. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6242611|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The report draws on both primary and secondary sources of data. In respect of primary sources, the report details access and availability of digital collections across 195 UK GLAM institutions and the copyright and open access policies of 63 UK GLAM institutions. The primary sources are complemented with interviews with 30 individuals operating in the GLAM industry. The report also draws on secondary data from existing empirical research from an open GLAM survey (McCarthy and Wallace).|
|Data Type:||Primary and Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:|
"This report was commissioned by the Towards a National Collection programme (TaNC) to better understand the ways in which open access shapes how the UK’s digital cultural heritage collections can be accessed and reused. The study was undertaken by Dr Andrea Wallace in 2021. The recommendations presented are the authors own and their report form part of the evidence that Towards a National Collection continues to gather to determine the future policies it will recommend.
Andrea Wallace gives a focused discussion on how the UK Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museum (GLAM) sector fares in the global open GLAM landscape and what potential is possible with a digital national collection. Four types of information inform this report:
• Existing empirical data on global open GLAM activity, policies and data volume;
• New empirical data on UK GLAMs, public domain collections and rights management, including:
1. A dataset of 195 UK GLAMs containing information on online collections, rights statements and reuse policies, technical protection measures, publication platforms, open access engagement, commercial licensing practices, data volume and other data points;
2. An in-depth review of the rights statements and reuse policies of 63 GLAMs selected from that sample; 3. 30 one-hour open ended interviews with TaNC project investigators, UK GLAM staff, external platform staff and open GLAM advocates;
• A review of relevant case law and policy developments in the UK and elsewhere; and
• A literature review of scholarly writing on copyright and open access to digital heritage collections.
The findings indicate there is no consensus in the UK GLAM sector on what open access means, or should mean. There is also a fundamental misunderstanding of what the public domain is, includes and should include. Indeed, staff perspectives and GLAM policies can vary widely, even within a given institution. Accordingly, this study aimed to discern and outline what support is necessary to address systemic barriers to open access, starting with copyright itself.
Copyright generally protects creative expressions during the creator’s lifetime and an additional 70 years after death. During the copyright term, the public pays the rightsholder a fee to reuse the work. The idea is that these economic benefits will incentivise creators to make new creative works, over which they will enjoy a limited monopoly from which they may profit and exert control. Once copyright expires, the work enters the public domain and is available for anyone to reuse for any purpose. In this way, the public domain is a central part of the copyright bargain and its availability produces a wider benefit to society: public domain works can be reused to create new knowledge and cultural goods that enrich social welfare and invigorate the local economy. Considering these aspirations align with public missions, GLAMs around the world are in the process of updating digital remits and strategies to feature these goals for digitised public domain collections. Yet new questions can arise related to the presence or absence of copyright in digital surrogates of public domain works and collections data as a result. This study thus aimed to understand how the UK GLAM sector fared in the global open GLAM landscape and what new potentials are enabled by the digital national collection."
Main Results of the Study
• The majority (91.3%) of GLAM institutions release only some, rather than all, eligible data under open licences or public domain tools. Only a few contributors are responsible for the majority of openly accessible assets, with seven GLAM institutions contributing to 99.3% of all UK assets.
• Most GLAM institutions (73.8%) use closed, or all rights reserved, licenses for digitised public domain collections. 17.9% of GLAM institutions apply technical protection measures to these collections. Only six of the institutions surveyed were found to comply with the UK IPO’s copyright notice to refrain from claiming new rights in digitised public domain collections.
• The majority of GLAM institutions confirm that, whilst copyright claims remain in theory an option of enforcement, they do not intend to act further than a cease-and-desist letter to potential infringers. Further, licensing images generated around the public domain does not appear to be a sustainable revenue scheme with potential growth, with GLAM institutions confirming that the (already limited) income generated from such licensing schemes is shrinking.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The study makes a number of policy recommendations:
• Affirm a legal position that no new rights may arise in non-original reproductions of media generated around public domain works;
• Mandatory open licensing requirements for future UK digital collections research infrastructures;
Expanding access to funding and programmes for community support;
• Improving coordination with UK funding bodies and associations to advance open access adoption; • Coordinating with key UK actors to develop a sustainable open access programme and centralised support point;
• Improving communication surrounding expectations on open access, and; • Dedicating resources to undertake research on open access to inform the international open GLAM movement.
Coverage of Study