Session 5: Legal

Grace Agnew, from Rutgers Universities Library, presented over 40 PPT slides on Digital Rights Management. Her book is due to be published later this year. It’s still not clear to me why we need DRM in open access repositories. Surely this conference is an opportunity to promote the benefits of Copyleft. A simple way of managing the rights to academic research, which costs nothing, is to attach a Creative Commons license to the work. It’s what software developers, with the similar GPL license have been doing for 20 years with great reward. Of course, this ignores the issue that for most academics, the IPR ultimately belongs to the University and it’s at this level that the discussion needs to be had. An academic who deposits their work in a repository and chooses to license their work under a Creative Commons license, may be forgetting that they do not own the work in the first place. In practice, academics are usually free to publish their work as they wish, but the explicit application of a Copyleft license is, unfortunately, not a guaranteed right.

Next, Brian Fitzgerald, from QUT Law School, discussed the OAK Law Project. The project looks fascinating and notably links to the Creative Commons initiative in Australia. It’s a shame that Brian didn’t talk about that and its relevance to open access repositories.

Finally, Jenny Brace, from the Version Identification Framework Project, presented the results of their project. By this point, the microphone in the auditorium had stopped working and I couldn’t hear very much, which was a shame, as it’s an important and interesting area of study, something which I’ve had to deal with ever since working in Collections Management at the NFTVA, where the correct ‘versioning’ of TV and Film materials was a constant issue. ‘Version’ means different things to different groups of people.