Tuesday, 19 April 2011

JISC Rights and Repositories Programme Meeting 2008 - report

Following a request I am re-posting a blog I wrote for the DataShare Project blog http://www.disc-uk.org/datashare.html on a JISC Rights and Repositories Programme Meeting that I attended for the project in London on 05/09/2008.

The meeting primarily covered issues of intellectual property and copyright for people considering establishing instititional repositories.


The opening speaker stressed that IPR should be a central concern of any repository manager, that ‘IPR needs to be viewed as an essential part of individual academic integrity and institutional quality control’.

The speaker stated that ‘confusion, lack of awareness, poor practice, contradictory policy and risk aversion currently dominate thinking about this subject at all levels – particularly amongst senior management’, and that most practices reflect ‘pre-digital attitudes to publishing’. The speaker pointed out that sorting out IPR problems acts as a ‘lightening conductor’ to highlight issues of ownership, power, control and status that might not have been transparently and explicitly dealt with by the institution before.

The speaker then detailed some of the experiences of Jorum, a JISC-sponsored online repository for learning and teaching resources, gave an outline of the Jorum 3-tier licensing structure [JorumOpen, JorumEductionUK, and JorumPlus], and showed two slides on the reasons for and implications of open access.

Though the problems with institutional management of IPR were discussed and highlighted, the only strategy suggested for communicating with or influencing senior staff to improve management of IPR was that getting senior management ‘to sign things focuses their minds’.



The speaker gave a very good outline of the legal environment in relation to IPR and copyright.

The presentation outlined various kinds of rights that repository developers may have to consider including patents, trade marks, designs, trade secrets/confidential information, and copyrights and related rights, including database rights, performers’ rights (applies to lectures) and moral rights.

Copyright ‘protects the skill and labour expended in the creation of something new’, is automatic and ‘does not require registration’. The © symbol is not necessary for an output to be under copyright (though its inclusion does remind the user).

Database rights protect against copying without permission. Provided ‘the collection and verification of the contents of a database involved significant resources, protection is given’. ‘Arguably most repositories will enjoy both database rights and copyright’.

Major issues to be considered by repository managers include

- Who owns the rights to materials being added? This can be difficult as institutional positions are not always clear, and ownership of academic output may sometimes need to be clarified e.g. does the author, or the employing institution own the IPR?

- Have rights been licensed or transferred to the repository? If not, does the repository have the right to hold/redistribute the materials?

- What is the policy for orphan works?

Licenses to be aware of include Open Source software licenses, Creative Commons (Creative Archive, Science Commons) licences, CLA (Copyright Licensing Agency) or other RRO (Reproduction Rights Organisation) licenses.

The remainder of the presentation outlined possible future changes to the law (Gowers Review, proposed EU extension to term of sound recordings, EU review of copyright law).

Recommended changes of note from Gowers report include

- Expanding Educational Exceptions to copyright to include some off-site activities (currently exceptions restricted to acts carried out on-site at an educational establishment).

- Educational Exceptions should be media independent

- Expanding Library Privilege to allow more copies to be kept for preservation purposes, and more types of material to be preserved (including sound recordings, films etc).

- Expanding Library Privilege to museums and galleries.

The presenter also highlighted an EU draft directive on public sector information, which should it become law, would mean all documents created and published by a university would have to be made available for public sector exploitation at a minimal cost.


Ethosnet is a single point of access to UK electronic theses in collaboration with the British Library.

Ethosnet has taken the decision to make electronic theses available without author permission, creating an opt-out rather than an opt-in service. This necessitates a robust ‘take down policy’.

Ethos is copying the Jorum ‘take down policy’ which removes publications and output but leaves the metadata and citation in place.



A very interesting presentation on the complexity of licensing content for practice based music research.

I don’t think DataShare will be concerned with resources of this kind so I will not elaborate (Robin etc. correct me if I’m wrong). An overview of the presentation can be found here


An interesting recommendation was made, that metadata be used to keep track of when copyright expires.



This session highlighted the importance of taking IPR issues into consideration from the beginning of any project. In particular the speaker recommended an IPR audit in the budget plan at the start of a project, particularly those where content will be created.

Recommendations include

- Each project has a nominated person responsible for IPR issues

- All materials and communications about IPR and rights issues to be archived and preserved.

- A thorough understanding of the difference between ownership and licensing: ‘assignment’ and ‘license’.

- Adaptation of the ‘creative commons’ license.

The Jorum experience is that ownership should remain with the author/creator and repositories should secure licenses, and that these licenses should be in perpetuity.

John Casey recommended links

JISC template for consortium agreements for IPR


Intellectual property rights in e-learning programmes: good practice guidance for senior managers


Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in networked e-learning: a beginner’s guide for content developers


Managing IPR in digital learning materials: a development pack for institutional repositories. http://trustdr.ulster.ac.uk/outputs.php (this link is now broken, an abstract is available here, but not the full document http://www.ics.heacademy.ac.uk/news/fullstory.php?id=110)

Eduserv online copyright toolkit http://copyrighttoolkit.com/index.html


Having arrived in the second half of the risk management session the discussion concerned the necessity of a robust take down policy.

A robust take down policy is a significant step towards protecting a repository from charges of breach of copyright. Things to consider in this policy include how to ensure a rapid removal of problematic objects, in particular during periods when staff are unlikely to be in the office e.g. Christmas; and how to verify that the complainant does actually have copyright of the material.


JISC digital repositories programme

JISC legal http://www.jisclegal.ac.uk/

JISC CAMEL (Collaborative Approaches to Management in E-Learning)

Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org/

Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute
Web 2.0 rights project http://www.web2rights.org.uk/

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