Open Editors

“Open Editors collects publicly available information about the editors and editorial boards of scholarly journals through a technique called webscraping, whereby a script accesses the websites of the publishers to extract the relevant information. The codes (programmed in R) are available at GitHub….”

Our Response To Canada’s Copyright Term Extension Consultation

On 29 January 2020, the Canadian federal government introduced Bill C-4, “An Act to Implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States” (CUSMA).1 The bill includes a proposal to extend copyright’s term of protection2 by 20 years, moving it from “life of the author + 50 years” (the international minimum standard as per the Berne Convention and TRIPS Agreement) to “life + 70 years.” An open consultation process is open until 12 March 2021 and Creative Commons, together with Creative Commons Canada, submitted comments to remind the Government of Canada of the imperative to preserve the public domain and safeguard the public interest in access to copyright works despite an inevitable term extension. 

Extending copyright’s term harms the public domain

At Creative Commons, we believe that copyright policy should encourage creativity, not hamper it. In a balanced copyright system, the rights and interests granted to both creators and the general public are necessary to stimulate vibrant creativity and foster the sharing of knowledge. We’ve previously made it clear that excessive copyright terms inhibit our ability to build upon and rework creative content. A 20-year extension effectively keeps creative works out of the public domain for two extra decades. This is an incredible loss given the role of the public domain as the trove of materials on which contemporary creativity depends. 

There is no reason for copyright protection to last as long as it already does—let alone be further extended. In fact, we argue for the term of protection to be significantly reduced. A brief filed by leading economists in the 2002 Eldred v. Ashcroft case demonstrated how the costs of a term extension outweigh the benefits. In a 2009 paper, economist Rufus Pollock estimated the optimal copyright term to be about 15 years. Adding 20 years is a huge step in the wrong direction.

An extension is also going to negatively impact the sectors hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, namely the education, academic and GLAM3/cultural sectors, as pointed out by Canadian copyright academic Michael Geist who called the copyright term extension “bad policy.” With copyright erecting so many unnecessary barriers preventing the free flow of knowledge and culture, extending its length flies in the face of policy efforts made to increase access to knowledge in times of crisis and of community efforts to reduce the effects of the pandemic.

Canada must uphold the public domain

As stated in the Industry Committee’s 2019 recommendations — which we praised upon their release — there is no way around Canada’s obligation to extend the term under the CUSMA  trade agreement. Despite the inevitable term extension, Canada’s copyright policy should still strive to promote a robust and universally accessible public domain. In fact, Canadian ministers have indicated in the past some support of the public domain, stating that copyright law “should ensure […] that users benefit from a public domain.” Accompanying mitigation measures must include a registration obligation (as generally recommended by the COMMUNIA Association) or other types of formalities for creators wishing to benefit from the extra 20 years of protection. 

Despite the inevitable term extension, Canada’s copyright policy should still strive to promote a robust and universally accessible public domain.

In line with our 2021-2025 strategy, we encourage collaboration among open advocates defending the public interest in Canada to push for a balanced copyright regime that truly rewards creators and upholds the rights of users to access, reuse, and further contribute to the public domain.

We will also continue to make available to creators a simple tool to enable them to waive their copyright using CC0 and share their creations under open CC licenses to recalibrate a copyright system that is too tilted against sharing and collaboration. Around the world, we will also continue to hold our strong stance against any copyright term extension to ensure better sharing and uphold the public domain as our shining light in times of darkness

Notes

1. The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement CUSMA (or USMCA) is a trade agreement between the three North American countries that entered into force on July 1, 2020.

2. The copyright term is the period of time during which creators can enjoy exclusive rights over how their works are used.

3. GLAM refers to galleries, libraries, archives and museums. 

The post Our Response To Canada’s Copyright Term Extension Consultation appeared first on Creative Commons.

Digital guide: working with open licences | The National Lottery Heritage Fund

“The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s licensing requirement supports open access to the rich heritage in the UK and the exciting possibilities of digital transformation in the cultural sector. All materials created or digitised with grant funding are subject to this requirement, which was updated in September 2020.

Open licences and public domain dedications are tools that give the public permission to use materials typically protected by copyright and other laws….

This guide explains open licensing and provides a step-by-step approach to the open licensing requirement for each stage of your project.

It is aimed at The National Lottery Heritage Fund applicants and grantees but contains useful information for anyone who supports open access to cultural heritage….”

Digital guide: working with open licences | The National Lottery Heritage Fund

“The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s licensing requirement supports open access to the rich heritage in the UK and the exciting possibilities of digital transformation in the cultural sector. All materials created or digitised with grant funding are subject to this requirement, which was updated in September 2020.

Open licences and public domain dedications are tools that give the public permission to use materials typically protected by copyright and other laws….

This guide explains open licensing and provides a step-by-step approach to the open licensing requirement for each stage of your project.

It is aimed at The National Lottery Heritage Fund applicants and grantees but contains useful information for anyone who supports open access to cultural heritage….”

Google Books: how to get the full text of public domain books

“While Google Books has digitised millions of books all over the world with the help of thousands of libraries as part of the Library Project, not all of those digitised books are freely available on the website. Books that are still in copyright cannot be consulted in full-text, even though you might see a snippet preview.

Sometimes, however, Google has not assessed the copyright correctly and the book is not publicly available, although Google has scanned it and it is out-of-copyright. That is the case with all books published before 1900 and some books published between 1900 and 1930.

When you know that Google Books has a scan of a book available, and you believe that the book should be in the public domain, you can ask Google to re-evaluate the copyright situation of that publication. The Google Books team will give you an answer in a couple of days….”

Open Access and Art History in the 21st Century: The Case for Open GLAM – CODART CODART

“Almost 1000 cultural heritage institutions around the world1 have published some or all of their online collections for free reuse, modification and sharing. They are part of the ‘Open GLAM’ (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) movement that views liberal access2 and reuse (where culturally appropriate3) of digital collections as fundamental to education, research and public engagement.

A key principle of Open GLAM is that works in the public domain – in which copyright has expired or never existed – should remain in the public domain once digitized. However, many museums do assert copyright in digital reproductions of public domain artworks. How legally legitimate is this? Although the answer is not straightforward (the relevant copyright law is complex and lacks international harmonization), in the European Union the standard of originality for a new copyright requires that the work be the ‘author’s own intellectual creation’….”

Full article: Providing Public Access to Grey Literature at the National Transportation Library

Abstract:  The National Transportation Library (NTL) at the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) provides national and international access to the crucial transportation information that falls within the scope of grey literature, including the results of U.S. government funded research. Founded as an all-digital library in 1998, NTL’s collections include full-text-born digital and digitized publications, data products, and other resources. All items are in the public domain and available for reuse without restriction. Since 2016, NTL has led the implementation of the USDOT’s Official Public Access Plan issued in response to the February 22, 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies entitled Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research. This paper discusses the effect this plan has had on a grey literature library and the efforts to create and maintain a public access repository, as well as exploring relationships between repository platform, contents, and people.

 

Boston Public Library makes historical images available for use in Wikipedia | Boston Public Library

“In celebration of Wikipedia’s 20th anniversary on January 15th, Boston Public Library has uploaded more than 8,000 historical photographs from its archival collections to Wikimedia Commons. These images include some of the library’s most important photographic collections, and contribute to the single largest batch of uploads ever contributed to Wikimedia Commons. By uploading these public domain images, BPL is making them available so that they can be freely used to enhance Wikipedia articles, re-printed in publications, or incorporated in student projects and papers. …”