Tuesday 9 March 2010

Danger! Copyright notice ahead ...

I've just been looking at the beautifully-produced 182-page online book, Intellectual Property, A business tool for SMEs: A Guide for the Textile and Clothing Industry. This is one of a series of four titles produced under the IPeuropAware project, being designed to help SMEs in areas in which they are under particular pressure from infringers and competition-related problems, the other three being Leather, Footwear and Furniture. Turning for a moment to the Copyright Notice, I found this:


This guide and its elements are protected by Intellectual Property legislation, in particular by Copyright law.

The guide and the information provided are available free of charge for public information only.

Reproduction and distribution in whatever form and by whatever medium (including Internet) is authorised, except for commercial purposes, provided that the source is acknowledged by mentioning:

• IPeuropAware project
• the URL www.innnovaccess.eu where the Guides can be found online
• the following legend: This guide has been produced within the project “IP Awareness and Enforcement: Modular Based Actions for SMEs” (IPeuropAware), which is financed by the CIP Programme, DG Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission and managed by the EACI.
• the fact that the document and its information have been provided free of charge under the IPeuropAware project.

However, prior permission of the Copyright holders is needed for any adaptation or translation of the documents or information. Should you be interested, please contact ipeuropaware@ua.es".

Several thoughts occurred to me. First, the old Universal Copyright Convention formula of Coypright/© + name of copyright proprietor + year of first publication may seem a little antiquated in the 21st century, but it does at least do two things. It helps people find the identity of the copyright holder(s), which is more than the lengthy text above does. It also gives a clue as to how current a published work is (while circumstantial evidence suggests that this book is published in late 2009 or early 2010, there's nothing explicit). A further thought is that this is the sort of situation for which Creative Commons should be able to provide better assistance to the would-be user. A third, rather miserable, thought is that a book which is provided for the benefit of readers who need good IP advice could surely do better than this notice, which is almost an invitation to the person seeking to reproduce the work to go ahead and do so since that's the path of greatest convenience. A final thought is that, where text like this is published online and users are expected to seek out copyright holders, it would be the work of a minute to put links to the various copyright holders so that their permissions could easily be sought.

Thoughts, anyone?

1 comment:

Arnoud Engelfriet said...

"this notice, which is almost an invitation to the person seeking to reproduce the work to go ahead and do so"

I'm not sure I understand this objection. What's wrong with an invitation to reproduce? I agree that the Creative Commons licenses are much better for this purpose, but your statement seems to suggest there's something wrong with issuing such an invitation at all.

Since the book appears to have been partially funded with European tax money, I'm actually surprised that commercial reuse is forbidden, rather than that any reuse is permitted.

For the record, my book (on internet law) has a similar notice but simply refers to Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA 2.5 Dutch).