Saturday, 31 October 2009

Digital libraries, museums: digitization, public domain & copyright, etc

The 6th Communia Workshop on "Memory Institutions and Public Domain" took place on 1 and 2 October 2009 in Barcelona, Spain, and the slides and, in many cases, full transcripts or even videos of the presentations, are now available.

"Memory institutions", I confess I hadn't heard the term before, include "libraries, museums, archives, cultural heritage institutions like monuments and places, botanical gardens, zoological gardens and all kinds of "collecting institutions"."

I particularly like the fact that there are short policy recommendations as well as abstracts of the presentations.

There's a report summarising the workshop, e.g. the keynote (my emphasis):

"by Dr. Ben White (British Library), emphasizing that we are at a crucial time: norms are currently being set by different uses, governments, and technologies, and libraries have to find a way around such differences in their on-going digitalisation efforts. It is important to get digital preservation right at economic, technical and legal levels, otherwise we will not be able to build and preserve our digital public domain. For instance, an analysys [sic] of over 100 contracts revealed that most of them systematically undermine preservation right of libraries. It is imperative to follow the lead of countries such as Ireland and Belgium: contract law cannot undermine exceptions to exclusive rights. Indeed, the British Library is currently in discussion with Wikimedia commons following the lead of the Bundesarchiv: they plan to use "social contracts" rather than a contractual framework such as a Creative Commons license. Above economic copyright, there are other issues to to be beared [sic] in mind, such as moral rights, religious sensitivities and other concerns of libraries that want people to know that certain material comes from such libraries."

The workshop included a very interesting and varied selection of speeches e.g.:

Well worth a look for anyone interested in digitisation, copyright and culture & cultural heritage.

UPDATE: See now a separate post on EU - digitisation of books including links.

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