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IPR has long been a back-shelf issue. That’s to say, many people don’t want to engage with it because it’s seen as complex and can have worrying implications. It’s an issue that should be prioritised but it’s tempting to take the ostrich approach…
The aim of this session was to help people take their heads from the sand – and to show that once people do engage, the tools are there to provide a pathway through the thorns and briars of intellectual property.
Indeed, this is one of the ways that JISC can provide protection for your own work, as well as helping you to avoid stepping on other people’s toes.
The talk was presented by Naomi Korn & Dr Neil Witt
A full room await Naomi Korn and Dr Neil Witt drinking coffee and sitting in pleasant sunshine.
The first session of the users and infrastructure theme: The important topic of IPR.
First, here’s a handy powerpoint overview of the proceedings: Web 2.0 powerpoint.
To start with we are told that the session will be split into 3. An Introduction from Naomi Korn, an explanation of what has been done so far from Dr Neil Witt and a question and answer session to close.
Naomi Korn tells us she plans to draw an analogy between IPR and Starbucks ‘grind for your garden’ bags and explains that she is the project manager of the cleverly punning www.web2rights.org.uk
‘The aim of the game,’ she says, ‘is to provide a toolkit to make information relevant to you and to your project by making it practical, pragmatic and timely. It’s a marrying of copyright specialists and technologist to harness the wonders of Web 2.0.
‘We live in a content rich society now, with all kinds of methods to engage with that content. What’s more using new technology, we can create our own content… and all that presents challenges in terms of intellectual copyright and the management of sharing systems.
‘What is intellectual copyright? The protection of the creations of the mind from clothes logos to books to paint. They behave a bit like property. Ownership can pass from one person to another and be bequeathed.
‘But Web 2.0 has presented a new issue, in that there’s a common perception that intellectual copyright law doesn’t apply to it. But it does. Just because it’s so easy to access and use that doesn’t mean digital is different.’
And here comes the Starbucks bag…
‘‘Ground for your gardens’ used coffee grounds are given away ‘free’ in Starbucks,’ explains Naomi and says that she therefore took one… But it’s only because it was indicated that it was free that she could.
‘The web is similar. It’s only when the licence is present that you can actually take stuff – to use in a specific way. A creative commons licence is the same as the word ‘free’ on that coffee ground bag.
‘All of which presents a challenge. The barriers of licensing, and how to manage rights is an important and complex issue.’
The issues and problems will now be presented:
A brain dump of problems:
* Web 2.0 facilitates collaboration – which becomes an issue with regard to ownership
* Cultural perceptions of copyright have been confused because of confusion between rights of access and use on the web.
* Open source licences are often misunderstood.
* Large corporations can exploit rights in Web 2.0 (trademarks, patents, etc).
* Many rights holders are unknown or cannot be traced.
So what can go wrong?
* Infringement of copyright… Because you don’t know who owns the rights, how do you get permission to use them?
* There’s a lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities relating to Web 2.0 rights.
* Breach of contract is tricky.
What does this mean for you?
Lines are blurred.
There are compatability issues… If you want to use someone else’s material in an open access licence what happens?
There is no linear flow of content anymore. It’s a loop flow and it’s tricky.
All of which is a bit of a downer, according to Naomi. But there’s good news to come in this section of the talk.
A few starting points along the pathway to happy compliance – and a few of the right questions to ask:
What are you using?
Has someone else created it?
Are you creating something new?
Are you adapting other content?
Whose content are you using?
Who within your team is creating stuff – and do you have permissions from them? (Staff, freelancers, etc.)
What is your intention? Who will use the content – and how?
Dr Neil Witt arrives with a flow chart… confessing that originally he took the ostrich approach to IPR, hoping it would go away… But now he’s become engaged, he’s realiased there’s a huge amount of resources out there to help created by people at JISC.
The web2rights project has developed.
But where to start? How to navigate through these resources?
IP and web 2.0 factsheet
Other legal issues factsheet
Template licences and model releases
Links to third party resources
Where are these things? All on the website…
And there’s a path round that Neil has devised. This flowchart, Neil explains came from a 3am conversation…. [Which is impressive because it looks very complex.]
Neil- using his engineering training- has systemetised the diagram into a flow chart to help you work through a project, a step-by-step guide through the layers of finding permissions, working out rights and similar.
It’s an A2 wall chart – and it’s free! So do download it and put it on the wall of your institution.
But this is only one route through.
There’s also a diagnostic tool on the website.
Things now naturally flow on to questions from the floor:
Delegate One asks how much all of this will change with legislation and similar
The conclusion, say Naomi and Neil, is hopefully not too much.
The organic nature of the project can be linked in and incorporated as changes that come up.
Peter Burnhill points out from the floor that there’s a surprise in there for you if your content originates from students.
‘Of course, it’s a question of funding too and how long the money is there to keep things going,’ says Neil. ‘But we’ve built it to enable us to keep things dynamic.’
Is more worried about what users will do rather than the institution. He points out a Scientific American article that explains there have been no court cases to establish principles and test limits when it comes to innovation rights. ‘Are there things we should be thinking about now for next year?’ is his concluding question.
Naomi says they have developed a risk management document that can be adapted for each project and organisation.
‘There’s a risk management approach to everything, but of course on a case by case basis it’s tricky as so much of it is different.
‘In terms of court cases, lots of it doesn’t get to court… They’ve had clients who have been approached by rights owners about unhappy content that they see as having been taken.
‘But ‘Unhappy’ doesn’t just mean court cases – often there are cash settlements outside court.
There’s got to be a climate of respect.
‘There have been cases about creative commons licences in Europe that didn’t change much, but did reinforce the limits of how that content is used.’
Peter Burnhill says lots of this could have been presented without the ‘2.0’ –’ That’s not a criticism, it’s just that it the subject has broad boundaries…’ Even in this room,’ he points out, ‘or say, classrooms, we are passing on information in unfettered open ways, there’s less problem. But once it’s recorded and – in a way – set in stone on Web 2.0 – a problem emerges. And there are then interesting collisions to do with whether the work is presented as your own.’
Naomi: That links in with the idea of it being a cyclical flow of content – and the confusion that creates. The goal is to acknowledge that it’s a community space – but a very public one, which has accompanying risks.
A possible solution could be to create a space on the web has terms and conditions of service to reduce risk. Netiquette guidlines.
Peter Burnhill goes back to first use of email, and how you learn you have to change and use what you say, because it’s not like a telephone conversation.
‘Now on Web 2.0 we have to learn that the private has bled into the public. Discussion forums among a small group of individuals can still have broad implications.’
He tells us how a colleague of his put up a group called ‘universities ‘r’ us – and ‘toys ‘r’ us’ brought in a cease and desist order. It started as a joke in a private space- once it became public it became an issue.
Wilbert Kraan asks about how you compare different applications and the uses they make of licences: things like flickr, facebook and similar.
Naomi: ‘It’s in our FAQ section…. There is still a licence, and terms and conditions about how you can use other people’s stuff.’
Wilbert Kraan: ‘What about liability for IT systems that are not even designed in this country.’
Naomi: ‘That’s a really important point. We’re going to be looking further into the international waters that our projects float in. We have to look beyond the UK.’
Neil: ‘That’s going to be the second phase.’
Peter Burnhill: ‘There might be an analogy between the difference of libel and slander.’
Naomi agrees, telling a story about how someone put some derogatory comments about her and an intellectual rights forum she led on a blog – which was a private event, but became very public.
Peter Burnhill: ‘There’s a question of the rules of engagement. Where it touches on us in education. It’s where the student experience lies.’
He then draws out the analogy of how, in the academic world, there’s something of a gift economy. Within the confines of the classroom, at least. Similarly a lot of software is shared. ‘But,’ he explains, ‘we need to be mindful of what we want the law to be to allow such interactions to continue to exist. We have to be able to do what we need to do and need a framework to allow this. We have to take care that we are not made illegal.’
James Cornford: Concerns that right to be recognised as author disappear can cause a lot of angst. And of course, there’s the problem of plagiarism. What’s the relationship between moral rights and intellectual property?
Naomi: We have looked at that in our factsheet. Attribution and citation is fundamental – especially in science, on a personal and professional level. Moral rights are tremendously important.
In the case of terms of service within a public space and creative commons licences… One of the fundamental terms within those have to be attribution.
It’s about communication to keep all sides happy. We have to create a framework to allow both attribution and spaces in which – so long as everyone understands and is happy – they can be waived.
Delegate six: Where does liability lie with cyber-bullying? Is it with the ISP? What if something goes wrong, who will be responsible?
Naomi: That’s where we hope we can bring more information in the future. There are some FAQs relating to liability on the site, but we need to explore them further.
Neil: If you have issues, email them to us, so we can work through them in stage two.
Wilbert Kraan: How does this impact on privacy.
Naomi: One of the things we want to emphasise the importance of reading small print and the terms between you and the software supplier. We will look at it in more detail – if you have specific issues, email us and we’ll work through it.
Neil points out, to laughter, that of course, it doesn’t constitute legal advice.
Peter Burnhill now talks about the flux within institutions about what they supply to students. For instance, catering is no longer just the province of the universities. ‘So, do we keep email addresses and similar within the institution or come from the outside?’
Wilbert Kraan: It goes beyond email.
Peter Burnhill: Absolutely. I agree with you that it’s important.
Wilbert Kraan: the Open University built a flickr clone because they weren’t sure on the legality of relying on flickr.
Peter Burnhill agrees that this is interesting and discusses how turning things the other way around like this also has an impact, explaining that: ‘I lost all my hotmail emails once and had no contract, so could do nothing.’
Naomi: It’s a question of weighing up the risks and costs. You really do start going down a business route.
Delegate seven: How does contract law affect all this? All these other issues start appearing.
Naomi: There are so many issues… We look at contract law in one of our papers… It’s complex. For instance, signing agreements from publishers often means giving over more rights than you have to.
What do you need to acquire in terms of rights order to run your service is an important question.
You have to ascertain what people offering you services have, where they come from and similar? We record all assertions people make to us about these things and run a take down policy.
We try to remain a host rather than a publisher. Sometimes bad stuff will happen, because you don’t check every object. But if you do engage as a publisher, you take on responsibility for all that.
Delegate eight: What are orphaned works?
Naomi: They’re works where you can’t trace the rights holder. The British Library suggest that 40% of all content on the web is orphaned. That’s very difficult. Unless we can show that it’s fair use, the onus is to clear the rights… But how do you do that if there’s no one you can ask or find.
I even think that the BL’s estimate is too low.
There are some initiatives working at the moment… The EU is running a program. As are big licensing agencies like the CLA, who are trying to come up with a license based insurance scheme. But how effective will that be? It still might not stop people coming forward to tell you to stop using what you are using.
They may be orphans – but they still had parents at some point.
Peter Burnhill points out that strictly speaking, they are waifs and strays that may not be orphaned…
And thus brings things to an amusing close.
Naomi rounds off the session, with reminders that: ‘We also have template training modules so you can tell other staff about what you’ve learned today so you can cascade the information down.
There is a balance between ownership and control that needs to be negotiated. The project needs a degree of control, after all…
Hopefully we will give you choices and tools to adapt and change as you need.’
And that’s the end of the session.