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Multimedia can be derived from many sources and in many different formats, often analogue in the original, which are converted to digital form. It is essential to respect the intellectual property rights in all types of material to be included in a repository, whether these are ‘born digital’ or analogue materials converted to digital formats.

For the purposes of this report the term ‘multimedia repository’ is used as shorthand to cover repositories that include a wide variety of types of material ranging from digital images of text to videos, music files, broadcasts, films, etc as opposed to those repositories that concentrate on digital or digitised textual material. It is not a new type of repository: most repository software can be configured to capture multimedia.

2. Intellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights in the UK are governed by the Copyright Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) 1988 which has been the subject of numerous amendments since it became law. The result of many of these amendments has been to bring the UK law into line with EU directives which aim to harmonise intellectual property treatment across the European Union, including harmonising the length of protection and permitted acts. The largest component of intellectual property rights in multimedia repositories is copyright.

Copyright is an automatic right which requires no registration in the UK and many other countries which are members of the Berne Convention. Fixation or recording in a material form of the ‘work’, however, is an essential requirement for copyright protection in the UK. There remain a few countries, mainly African nations, which are signatories to the UCC but not the Berne Convention – these include most recently Brunei, Nepal and Samoa, who all signed in 2006. To qualify for copyright protection under the Universal Copyright Convention the © must be included. Copyright does not protect ideas or facts although a compilation of facts, by virtue of skill in selection, may be protected. Copyright cannot exist of its own accord but must refer to a work, or the expression of the idea, i.e. it subsists.

The main provisions of copyright are the right of the author or creator to authorise:

  • publishing the work

  • copying the work

  • communicating the work to the public

  • performing, showing or playing the work in public

    • adapting the work – particularly relevant in the multimedia repository environment

    • renting or lending the work to the public.

      • 2.1

        What is a ‘work’?

A work can be in one of the following categories:

  • Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic which include, for example:

    • o

      literary work includes tables, a compilation, a libretto in an opera, the script of a film, or an original database;

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