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3 Intellectual property in multimedia repositories

The inclusion of material in digital format in multimedia repositories will be determined by intellectual property rights in the starting materials whether these are analogue or digital. There may be several sets of property rights in one type of material and there are overlaps between types of material identified here e.g. there will be sound recordings in lectures and film intellectual property rights in broadcasts, to name but two. This section looks at the criteria that have to be fulfilled before different formats material can be included and thus the limitations the criteria may impose.

Many originators of material are wary of repositories in general because digital material can be so quickly transmitted to multiple recipients as high quality copies that can be reproduced with little effort. Thus it is easy to contravene two of the Berne Convention three conditions and

    • Conflict with the normal exploitation of the work.

    • Prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.

      • 3.1

        Art and Architecture

Museums are constantly searching for ways to increase access to their material, enhance the user experience, conserve collections and encourage visitors. To this end museums and galleries have invested heavily in virtual tours on their websites with significant image content. The images of artworks and artefacts in their collection are often generated by the museum or gallery although they do not necessarily own the copyright in the original work, but will own the copyright in the images generated.

3.1.1 Scope

For the purposes of this study the relevant types of artistic works are graphic works (paintings, drawings, maps etc) and artistic works (including three dimensional articles and buildings as works of architecture). In the case of graphic works there are no qualifying criteria of quality for copyright to subsist for the period of the author’s life plus 70 years, but there must be originality.

3.1.2 Inclusion in a multimedia repository

Unless it is in the public domain or the copyright has expired on the original artistic work, creating an image without the permission of the copyright holder is an infringing act. This does not apply to buildings. There is the additional problem of the actual work belonging to someone or an institution that is entitled to control access and use of collections through its terms and conditions of access even although the work is on public display. In the case of out of copyright works or where permission has been obtained from the copyright holder many museums and galleries charge for the images they have created of works in their care and try to generate income from the use of these images. These images will have their own copyrights.

Although the work itself may be out of copyright it is possible that for any images an institution does not own it may need to go down the licensing route.

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