Archives and copyright: developing an agenda for reform
- Principal Investigator:Prof. Ronan Deazley
- Co-Investigator: Victoria Stobo
- Institution: CREATe, University of Glasgow
- Start Date: Nov 2013. End Date: Apr 2014
- Amount: £1500
Summary of the Project:
The purpose of the Archives and Copyright: Developing an Agenda for Reform symposium was to provide an opportunity for UK and US-based academics to engage with the archive community within the UK, to: (i) explore the limits of adopting a risk-based approach to copyright compliance within large-scale digitisation initiatives such as the Wellcome Digital Library (ii) assess the relevance (or not) of recent proposals for copyright reform in the UK with regard to facilitating the digitisation of archival collections; (iii) consider the implications of recent US developments in this domain (e.g. the HathiTrust decision (October 2012), and the work of the Center for Social Media (American University) in developing Codes of Best Practice for academic and research libraries and archives when dealing with copyright compliance issues; (iv) establish a network and a platform for the archive community within the UK to begin to develop and articulate a voice in copyright policy debates: a voice that relates to, but is distinct from, that of the library community. To be able to provide an accurate, open access and permanent record of the event, and the discussion generated, was considered to be of value to the archive community as well as policy-makers and academics working in this domain.
BILETA provided funding on three conditions: that the funding be used specifically to cover costs relating to part (iv) of the proposal, specifically web-design, filming, transcription, editorial and post-production costs; that the event actually runs as stated, and; that BILETA funding is acknowledged in future publications arising from the event. These three conditions have been met.
While we recognise that the new copyright settlement will better enable and facilitate the work or archivists, we also believe it will continue to inhibit and frustrate that work in important ways. The premise underpinning the Symposium that led to the production of these proceedings was very straightforward: what can be done to make the work of archivists easier and simpler, more efficient and more effective? Within the copyright domain, what evidence can be gathered and what strategies can be developed that might help make it easier for archivists to preserve their collections appropriately, and to make those collections as open and as accessible as possible?
There is no doubt that in recent years the concepts of cost-benefit analysis and evidence-based policy have taken centre stage in shaping copyright policy and reform. So: how can or should the archive sector respond to this development? What data can be gathered that speaks directly to the work and needs of archivists? When archives clear rights for digitisation initiatives, how often do rightsholders refuse permission? How often do they ask for payment or negotiate a licence fee? If rightsholders refuse permission, why do they do so? Does it concern copyright, or are there other non-commercial imperatives at play? If copyright fees are requested, do publicly funded archives have budgets to pay those fees?, or are they more likely to simply omit the material from the digital resource being developed? Have any UK-based archivists or archives ever been sued for copyright infringement, or even threatened with copyright litigation? Much could be done to gather information and evidence specifically relevant to the archive sector to help policy makers and legislators better understand the realities of the copyright regime as it affects and impacts archives, as distinct from other heritage institutions such as libraries, museums and galleries.
As for strategies, one possible strategy for making the life and work of archivists easier and simpler, more efficient and more effective, is to adopt a risk-based approach to clearing rights, rather than one of strict copyright compliance. When the Wellcome Library began to develop Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics, it adopted just such an approach. Wellcome’s vision for Codebreakers was to make archive material relating to the history of genetics and genomics freely available online, including material not just in the Wellcome’s collection but in other archival collections also. At the time of writing over 3 million pages of material is now available to view through the Wellcome Library Player, all of which is made available under an attribution non-commercial creative commons licence.
Recognising that the costs and demands of strict copyright compliance would seriously compromise delivery of the Codebreakers project, the Wellcome Library adopted a risk-based approach to clearing rights, and without doubt, this strategy contributed significantly to the success of Codebreakers. In our opinion, a risk-based approach to copyright compliance is a strategy that merits serious consideration and review on the part of the archive community, and these proceedings represent an opportunity for doing just that: for reflecting upon the merits and problems of adopting a risk-based approach to copyright compliance within an archival context. (These findings are taken from Deazley, R. and Stobo, V., (eds) (2014) Archives and Copyright: Developing an Agenda for Reform, CREATe Working Paper 2014/4, University of Glasgow
A web resource, which includes films and transcriptions of all the presentations from the symposium, in addition to a set of interactive conference proceedings has been developed. This resource has been further expanded with a blog, and will continue to be updated with other resources throughout the Archives, Digitisation and Copyright PhD study. The BILETA logo is featured prominently on the site, and a disclaimer is posted on the blog to let readers know that BILETA and the other site sponsors do not endorse the opinions and views expressed on the blog. The site is used as a teaching resource on Law and Cultural Institutions, an optional 20-credit module available on the MSc in Information Management and Preservation, offered by the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute at University of Glasgow. The site has also been featured at the following events: UK Archives Discovery Forum, the National Archives, March 2014 Research Seminar, HATII, University of Glasgow, March 2014 Mass Digitisation and Informational Monopolies Symposium, CIPPM, University of Bournemouth, April 2014 28th Annual British and Irish Legal Education and Technology Association Conference, University of East Anglia, April 2014 An Introduction to Copyright for Archivists Workshop, Edinburgh, 30th May 2014 An Introduction to Copyright for Archivists Workshop, Perth, 10th June 2014 Copyright and Mass Digitisation Workshop, Genocide Archive Rwanda, Kigali, 17th June 2014 Archives and Records Association Annual Conference, Newcastle, August 2014
By using the resource at these and other events, I estimate that up to 1000 people have seen the website, and with further activity, traffic on the site will increase. The site has also been used by researchers at University of Edinburgh with interest in the legal implications of work in the Digital Humanities, and by researchers at University of Strathclyde investigating new legal approaches to data-mining.
Victoria Stobo (CI) will continue to develop the Archives and Copyright resource over the course of the Archives, Digitisation and Copyright PhD study. The investigators on the project would like to thank BILETA for the funding support provided to realise this project, and also to thank the BILETA conference organisers in 2013 and 2014, when research presentations which bookended this project were accepted and delivered.
- Principal Investigator: Marion Oswald, University of Winchester
- Start Date: May 2013. End Date: Sept 2013
- Amount: £2000
Summary of the Project:
The aim of the study was to bring empirical facts to questions of public confidence in data sharing practice by investigating people’s attitudes to sharing personal data with the public sector, in particular, attitudes towards local councils, central government and the NHS and focussing on three categories of personal data: locational data, minor personal ailments and detailed medical history. Anonymisation of personal data was a particular focus of the study. It was hypothesised that participants would have significantly different comfort levels with providing their personal data to the selected public sector organisations. It was also hypothesised that there would be a difference in participants’ comfort levels between personal data being collected, stored and used, and data being shared, and that anonymisation would increase comfort levels with data sharing. The study also explored comfort levels in relation to the public sector using or sharing data for different reasons. A sample of 131 adults took part in the study by completing a questionnaire (between May and July 2013). 73% were female and 2% did not state their gender. Medical professionals accounted for 17% of responses with their responses not being significantly different from those of others. Participants were recruited via self-selected sampling, with questionnaires being available in a NHS hospital reception and online, following the receipt of NHS R&D and Ethics approval. The BILETA grant was used to recruit a research assistant skilled in data analysis and the use of SPSS.
The exploratory study showed that comfort levels with all public sector organisations dropped when participants were asked about organisations sharing personal data, with anonymisation making less of a difference to comfort levels than was expected. The NHS was the most trusted; for instance, 79% of participants were very or fairly comfortable with the NHS collecting, storing and using detailed medical history, compared with only 8% for local councils and 11% for central government. However, comfort levels with all organisations dropped when participants were asked about organisations sharing personal data: 22% were comfortable with the NHS sharing detailed medical history, dropping, for example to 2% in respect of local councils sharing detailed medical history and 6% in respect of central government sharing location information. Only 8% said that they would be willing to share their data after a security breach. Key findings and conclusions were presented at the 2014 BILETA conference.
An article discussing the results was published in Privacy & Data Protection journal (Vol 13, Issue 3) A longer article was published in online journal Script-Ed. The results of the research were cited by the Law Commission in its scoping report Data Sharing between Public Bodies in July 2014 (Law Com no 351)
The results suggested that in projects such as care.data, in which individual control over personal data has been diluted, it should not be left up to the individual to attempt to balance hard-to-define worries about privacy with an often equally hard-to-define societal aim; rather the public sector should ensure what Nissenbaum has called a “context-appropriate flow of information”, and take steps to minimise any connected risks; important ones being function creep and re-identification; and be better at communicating the decision. Also, more could be done by some of those commenting on anonymisation neither to downplay nor to overplay the re-identification risks, despite being less headline-grabbing. This was the investigator’s first empirical research project, only made possible by the BILETA grant. It enabled the investigator to gain valuable research experience and to expand the investigator’s work in the areas of privacy, data sharing and trust. The investigator is grateful to Matthew Jordan, Samantha Borek and Emma Vinson for their research assistance.