A terrific panel of artists, copyright experts, and museum people in a debate about contemporary art, digital media, and rights issues.
In this debate, we discussed perspectives and challenges in using Creative Commons licenses on contemporary art, as opposed to traditional copyright. Does it entail increased visibility for artists if they share reproductions of their work more liberally than copyright allows for? Is it even possible for artists to opt out of social media today, if they want their work to known more widely? Are there new ways for artists to make revenues in connection with more openly licensed images of their work? Or is it a slippery slope to start relaxing the restrictions on how images of artworks are shown, shared and circulated online?
The aim was to have a constructive and solution-oriented debate that will help artists and cultural institutions alike to better understand how to navigate and benefit from the participatory culture on the Internet, while respecting rights.
While our digital lives are undisputedly globalised, we have no international harmonised market for intellectual property. For this reason, artists and the cultural heritage sector struggle to legally share their creative works online. This hinders the public’s access to knowledge and culture, which in turn can have an economic impact on society.
At Kennisland, we call for a strong public domain, an EU harmonised internal market for intellectual property, fitting limitations and exceptions, and accessible provenance information. The current implementation of the new orphan works directive only solves problems of access to the extent of the Internet five years ago, not for the future.
If the cultural heritage sector wants to support a thriving Remix Culture, we need to debate the legal and technical mechanisms that are holding artists and institutions back from sharing. We need a frank discussion on the merits of sharing vs. the monopoly of intellectual property rights.
Maarten Zeinstra works at Kennisland (KL). KL is an independent think tank with a public mission. KL aspires to strengthen our knowledge society by designing innovative programmes and realising interventions to address the grand challenges of today’s society. A strong knowledge-driven society subsists because of access to information. By making digital heritage collections available in an open and innovative way, knowledge can thrive.
Maarten is advisor on copyright law and open technology in the cultural sector. His focus is to guide cultural institutions in making data available online. In practice, this means writing policy, giving workshops and masterclasses, and guiding technological development. Maarten is project lead of Creative Commons Nederland and has extensive experience as a requirements engineer and architect for projects like Open Images, Europeana and OutOfCopyright.eu.
Taking, Making and Law-Breaking: copyright, digitised content, and the digital maker movement.
Although there is a lot of digitised cultural heritage content online, it is still incredibly difficult to source good material to reuse, or material that you are allowed to reuse, in creative projects. What can institutions do to help people who want to invest their time in making and creating using digitised historical items as inspiration and source material? How does this affect the creative choices that people can make when trying to produce items based on digitized content? How does the current copyright licensing, and the treatment of digitized versions of orphan works, help or hinder the ability to reuse and share digitized content in a physical form?
In this talk, Melissa Terras will talk about her experiences in trying to reuse digitized heritage content to make something she likes, wants, and will use – and the frustrating barriers she encountered along the way. Covering issues of technical digitization standards, search and retrieval issues, and licensing issues, it is demonstrated how difficult it is to reuse cultural heritage content in this context, given the implicit and explicit barriers raised, institutionally, technically, and legally, along the way.
Melissa Terras is Director of UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, Professor of Digital Humanities in UCL’s Department of Information Studies, and Vice Dean of Research (Projects) in UCL’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities. With a background in Classical Art History, English Literature, and Computing Science, her doctorate (Engineering, University of Oxford) examined how to use advanced information engineering technologies to interpret and read Roman texts. Publications include “Image to Interpretation: Intelligent Systems to Aid Historians in the Reading of the Vindolanda Texts” (2006, Oxford University Press) and “Digital Images for the Information Professional” (2008, Ashgate) and she has co-edited various volumes such as “Digital Humanities in Practice” (Facet 2012) and “Defining Digital Humanities: A Reader” (Ashgate 2013). She is currently serving on the Board of Curators of the University of Oxford Libraries, and the Board of the National Library of Scotland. Her research focuses on the use of computational techniques to enable research in the arts and humanities that would otherwise be impossible. You can generally find her on twitter @melissaterras.
Conferences on open data and collaboration in the GLAM sector