Friday 23 July 2010

Copyright: a help or hindrance?

"Driving UK Research – Is copyright a help or a hindrance?" is the title of a new report from what is termed "the research community", compiled by the British Library. It examines the UK’s existing intellectual property framework, "reflecting the challenges researchers face on a daily basis and highlighting a consensus across all sectors on the need for reform to meet the demands of a modernising world". According to the media release yesterday,
"Sourced directly from researchers this report presents a ‘grassroots view’ of the current copyright framework in the UK. Looking at the barriers they encounter on a daily basis, the contributors’ feedback not only highlights the obstructions to creativity but also puts forward proposals for reforming UK intellectual property legislation to reflect the needs of today’s researcher.

Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, [says]:
“Underpinning research in the UK, the British Library presents this report on behalf of the research community, raising their thoughts and ideas on how to create a copyright system fit for the future. We hope it will provide a useful contribution to the debate.”
You can read it here. It's 19 pages long and, despite its brevity, covers quite a broad range of issues. My impression is that this set of mini-essays represents the view of the high end of the research community, the respectable zone in which researchers are sufficiently attentive to the impact of copyright law to want (i) to avoid infringing it and (ii) to change it where possible to bring its provisions more closely into accord with modern research techniques and computer-driven facilities. The low end of the research community just gets its head down and carries on researching on the assumption that -- with the exception of gaining access to necessary sources and materials -- copyright is no problem because it can be safely ignored.


Anonymous said...

The link to the report is broken. It should be: not

Jeremy said...

Thanks, anonymous -- I've just corrected it.