Sunday, 25 May 2014

The minefield that is copyright

On Thursday I took a trip down memory lane and went to Cambridge for an ARA training day in copyright.  My knowledge in copyright is probably better than the layman but certainly not of the level of a head of an archive department so I was looking forward to some clarification.

I visited St John's just after the storm

The infamous Tim Padfield took the morning training and he certainly is a font of knowledge all things rights related.  If only I could put him in my pocket and produce him at meetings with the digital and broadcast departments!  I'll definitely be buying his book though.  The copyright amendments coming into place on 1st June 2014 will make quite a difference to what we do at the NT and I'm glad I've had some guidance on them.

I'm in Fife and spent yesterday on the beautiful Isle of May
I've got quite a to do list as a result of the day ranging from checking over what is written in every contract we write to new copyright declaration forms; one for NT copyright materials and one for third party copyright materials.  Having discussed the topic with some friends in the film industry last night, I am set in my opinion that this is an absolute minefield but it is my job to understand the issues raised in my own collection and to flag those concerns to those wishing to use the collection.  I think I have some work to do to convey how serious copyright infringement could be for the NT.  One speaker yesterday described the copyright infringement case that he has experienced as an archivist for a local authority and it is not a situation in which I ever wish to be!

A razorbill up close and personal with no zoom
Churchill College was hosting us and gave us an impromptu tour of their reading room and strong rooms.  It was all very interesting, especially the glow in the dark labels they use for their important shelves for the benefit of the fire brigade in disaster recovery (all the more important following the tragic events at the Glasgow School of Art this weekend).  We also got to see Margaret Thatcher's handbag in a purpose-built archival storage and display box with drawer for handbag contents.  She used Estee Lauder.  Churchill allow digital photography in they reading room as do many of the other record offices represented yesterday and I am keen to follow up on this.  Although I obviously see the benefits, I am loathed to allow fans to photograph every piece of paper in the prompt script and costume bible of 'Frankenstein' (2011) that might have been touched by Benedict Cumberbatch.

My furry friend 
All in all, I now have my work cut out to get up to speed and make sure that the service we are providing is as copyright secure as it can feasibly be - a worthy cause I think!

Other news

I have now tried Birthday Cake M&Ms courtesy of Erin...interesting to say the least.


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