Clearing a path through the copyright jungle

A unique collaboration between two contrasting organisations wanting to cast light on the tangled world of copyright permissions and payments bears fruit today (30 April 2008) with the publication of a set of Joint Guidelines on Copyright and Academic Research.

The collaborators are the Publishers Association, the leading trade organisation serving book, journal, and electronic publishers in the UK, and the British Academy, which speaks nationally for the humanities and social sciences – the discipline areas where copyright issues have caused most confusion.

Designed to clear a path through the complex jungle of copyright legislation, the Joint Guidelines set out to provide practical, objective guidance for the layman and woman, endorsed both from the perspective of the academic researcher and that of the publisher and copyright ‘guardian’.

Authors, publishers and researchers frequently face daily uncertainty as to their respective rights and obligations regarding copyright. The Guidelines address the most frequent problems encountered, including fair dealing exemptions, the terms of protection for different types of materials, widespread confusion over copyright for material held in digital form, and difficult ownership issues, including the troublesome subject of “orphan works”.

John Kay, the distinguished economist, commentator and Fellow of the British Academy who chaired the two organisations’ joint working party, said: “These Guidelines are both welcome and timely and provide in a simple, straightforward format a clear interpretation of the legal position on all the main intellectual property issues which confront the academic research community nowadays.”

Graham Taylor, Director of Educational and Academic Publishing at the Publishers Association, said: “We commend these Joint Guidelines as a readable, but rigorous, first source of advice for those needing to work within, and respect, copyright in literary works as an element of their academic or professional lives. Publishers are also users and consumers of copyright material as well as producers and investors, and the PA hopes that these Joint Guidelines will prove as useful in publishers’ permissions departments as they will to academics seeking to use copyright works in their researches. It has been a pleasure to work with our distinguished colleagues at the Academy on this project.”



30 April 2008

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