The Copyright Consultation: how can it impact the information profession?

The UK Government's is looking for evidence to inform its Copyright Consultation - and information professionals should get involved says Emily Goodhand.

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Extended collective licensing

Extended collective licensing is a scheme which would allow the cultural heritage sector (amongst others) to digitise and make available large collections which may include some orphan and out of commerce / out of print works.  Collecting societies would have to apply for the scheme, and would effectively represent all creators in that particular sector. So, for example, if a collecting society deals with royalties for authors from books, under an ECL scheme they would not only deal with the authors and publishers who are their members, but also all other UK authors and publishers.  The arrangement would be an opt-out scheme, so if an author didn't want their works to be part of the scheme they would simply notify the collecting society and be exempted.  The collecting societies would be expected to do diligent searches for missing rightsholders, which would relieve information professionals of that administrative burden.

What the Government wants to know:

For an extended collective licence, your organisation would have to pay a fee.  Where should the money from this fee go, given that a proportion may be for orphan or out of commerce works? The Government has suggested that it could be held by the collecting society for an indefinite period of time or be channelled back into the creative sector, or into charities, or even to benefit the cultural sector.

What can you do?

The Government is looking for evidence (both statistical and/or anecdotal) either for or against these proposals.  There is no need to respond to all the questions in the document; simply choosing one or two to respond to, either as an individual or on behalf of an organisation, is sufficient. If you think any of the topics listed above affect you or your organisation because you've encountered problems with them before, go ahead and respond! You'll find the consultation at the IPO's website under Hargreaves Review - Copyright ( If you have no time to respond but have some anecdotal evidence to share, get in touch with the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) via the CILIP website as they will be responding to the consultation on behalf of the sector.   In addition, the IPO is running a number of stakeholder workshops on all of the above-mentioned areas throughout January and February.  The Consultation on Copyright closes on the 21st March so spare some time to respond!

Emily Goodhand is Copyright and Compliance Officer at the University of Reading.  She runs workshops and gives talks and presentations on copyright, rights management and licensing .   She is vice-chair of the Libraries & Archives Copyright Alliance.  Follow Emily on Twitter @copyrightgirl.

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