Sophie Alexander Keeping Control of Copyright Compliance
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Tuesday, 21st October 2014 Sign in to MyJinfo or create an account be able to star items Printable version Subscribe via RSS to get updates as soon as Blog items are added

By Sophie Alexander


Copyright is an important concern for every organisation involved in information-sharing but can be a complex area to navigate. With the dramatic increase in the emergence of digital information over the last 20 years, the challenges presented are far-reaching. This article takes a look at copyright law in the UK as well as some of the ways users can remain copyright-compliant.


FreePint Topic Series: News, and BeyondThe last 20 years has seen a dramatic increase in the emergence of digital information technology.

Users can now store, access and copy works in ways that are often beyond the control of their creators. On the one hand, this increased access to information provides a positive benefit but it can also prevent the creators of those works from receiving a fair return if their copyright is infringed.

Changing Business Models

Business models are changing to reflect the impact of these new technologies and those involved in the "traditional" publishing value chain have also been affected in some way by these developments. 

Publishers have become increasingly diligent about protecting their copyright, as shown by cases such as the UK's Newspaper Licensing Agency (now NLA media access) and PRCA/Meltwater case. (See FreePint's commentary.)

The Importance of Copyright

Copyright exists to encourage the development of culture, science and innovation, whilst providing a financial benefit to copyright holders for their work. However, many users are often unaware they are violating someone else's copyright when they share information.

Copyright is a complex area to navigate but it's essential that all organisations are familiar with copyright best practices to help them minimise the risks to themselves and their employees, whilst at the same time encouraging a healthy information-sharing culture.

Training Is Key

With the constant appearance of new types and formats of information, regular staff training in copyright issues is essential so that they are aware of copyright laws in their jurisdiction. Areas which should be covered include:

  • Understanding what is covered by the organisation's licence
  • What acknowledgements are required
  • What the legal issues are of uploading to digital environments  
  • Copyright and social media. 

Tools To Ensure Copyright Compliance

The recent Subscription article, Issues of Copyright for Current Awareness, takes a look at copyright law in the United Kingdom and the legal implications of failing to adhere. It highlights some of the tools used for current awareness as well as the copyright implications involved in opting for a do-it-yourself news aggregator tool as opposed to one of the more traditional ones.   

It also looks at the various licences offered by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA), NLA media access and the Creative Commons and the situations when you're likely to need a licence. It also highlights further links to various copyright organisations for readers who want to explore some of these issues further.  

This Blog item is part of the FreePint Topic Series: News, and Beyond.

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