Yes we are coming up to January 1st when things go public domain in
the UK. I understand there will be a bit of a party. Fireworks and
My list of works that go PD is a bit short at the moment and mostly
focused on the your paintings thing but I hope to expand it a bit
before the new year:
This is a short summary from the meeting I attended last night at
Westminster Hall representing WM-UK. The PICTFOR meeting was mainly
attended by politicians, industry experts, publishers, academics and
lawyers. I hope this might be of interest for some UK members who may not
be all that aware of current recommended changes to copyright legislation.
I was invited to join the parliamentary information technology forum on 1st
November for a discussion of the Hargreaves' review and to hear some expert
evidence for and against it in the context of data mining. I was
attending as a non-expert but interested in judging possible impact on
WM-UK future activities.
Hargreaves was commissioned by the Prime Minister to examine the issues
with Intellectual Property and recommend changes which there is now a
commitment to adopt. My layman understanding is that Hargreaves'
analysis was from an almost entirely economic perspective, with a focus on
how a future market in digital IP licensing could create a trading market
place of IP to encourage UK business, as well as making it easier to
identify who the owner of any copyright is and deal with the issues of
orphan works and simplify license terms.
*Possibly good things*:
- Though the recommendations avoid an equivalent to the USA's fair use, the
changes would provide an exception for data mining in the UK where entire
transient copies of works may be made for automated analysis this being
considered to break copyright terms. This will enable significant areas of
research which at the moment are hampered in the UK by having to negotiate
specific deals with publishers for data mining. The CIO for Nottingham
University gave a good example of the currently impossible task of having
already paid £5 million to publishers for access rights to academic
databases and then having to attempt to negotiate separate terms and
additional charges with each publisher for the confused area of data mining.
- Simplifying license terms would be of benefit to all, particularly as the
recommendation is that contract terms would not be allowed to override
license terms, for example JSTOR's contract terms for non-systematic use
would no longer be enforceable in the UK.
*Possibly bad things*:
- A number of publishers spoke out against the report, including the CEO of
the Publishers Association, their concerns include that by allowing
exceptions for datamining this would introduce a risk of their databases
being insecurely mirrored in other countries and that the changes would
reduce the benefits of them acting as a "maitre d'" for access to copyright
- From a Wikimedia cultural perspective the formation of a digital trading
market will tend to default to allowing non-commercial use only, making
more material impossible to use on our projects, and in the long term
reduce the likelihood that digital collections could be used under a "no
copyright known" rationale as such material would be likely to instead be
exchanged on the basis of future speculative monetization that would ensure
it always has a declared copyright owner.
There was time for social chat after the main meeting and I got to meet
some interesting folks from the Pirate Party as well as copyright
experts. As the recommendations are just that, it is hard to say how firmly
they would be adopted or implemented. In the case of Wikimedia we can
already side-step many issues in terms of how UK law might affect our
projects, however if cultural institutions (such as the BFI and British
Library) default to using the suggested "research use only" restrictions
for digital archives, this may cause arbitrary restrictions locking out the
reuse we would like to see available for hosting on Wikimedia Commons,
Wikisource, etc. If the recommendations turn into firm proposals we may
need to help some of our partners consider the impact of changes in their
policies for long term public access and open knowledge.
4. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipreview.htm (The full report is available for
Guide to email tags: http://j.mp/faetags
The Foundation, and Wikimedia Deutschland, have set up a "participation
grants" initiative to fund people going places to do things in the
Wikimedia movement. We've already identified giving travel grants of this
nature as something we should do in 2012. We've been invited to take part
and commit a sum of money towards it, but aren't sure whether we should or
Basically, the advantages we might gain are that it might be simpler (both
for us and the applicants) if there was one global grants programme rather
than us doing our own thing.
The disadvantage would be that we'd have less direct control over what that
element of grant might be spent on, we might need to take on some of the
work of deciding on a wider group of grant applications, and also the fact
that the dividing line between what the Foundation does and what Chapters
do is very unclear at the moment and this might further muddy it.
Does anyone here have a view?
If you are interested in the OTRS workshop, please add your name to
<http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/OTRS_workshop>. It is currently
envisaged that the workshop would run over a weekend.
A poll on preferred dates is running at
<http://www.doodle.com/4nf6siv8dibhbr7p>, please tick any weekends
that you may be able to attend.
The location is currently expected to be at the new office which has
access to suitable meeting rooms:
56-64 Leonard Street
London EC2A 4LT
Tel:0207 065 0990