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Copyright and Trench Maps


BelgianExile
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Hi all,

I know this has been discussed previously, but I have a query about copyright and trench maps.

I've just got a copy of the excellent WFA's 'Mapping the Front' DVDs for the Somme area. In their notice on the disc they state: "Although original Great War maps and documents themselves are no longer copyright, the digital versions of the material on this disc are copyright of the Imperial War Museum or the Western Front Association, 2007."

Now this seems to be in contradiction to the Intellectual Property Office who state: "A work can only be original if it is the result of independent creative effort. It will not be original if it has been copied from something that already exists. If it is similar to something that already exists but there has been no copying from the existing work either directly or indirectly, then it may be original." (http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/copy/c-applies/c-original.htm)

So, following this logic, the scans are not original work - they are copies of original work whose copyright has either expired or been waived and therefore copyright cannot be applied to the digital version. Now I'm sure that there's a flaw in my logic somewhere - which is why I'm posting it to the forum to see what others think?

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The type and degree of new work required is rather a grey area in UK copyright law (in the US your interpretation would certainly be correct as shown by the Bridgman v Corel case). The process of digitisation involves a variety of choices, cropping, deskewing etc which mean they may not be regarded as a straightforward copy. The statement about all the originals being out of copyright would also depend on when the maps were actually considered published - unpublished Crown Copyright material remains in copyright longer, whilst published material is only protected for 50 years.

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Point taken, but the scans themselves are straight scans. I'm not convinced that this meets the criteria of independant creative effort.

From the National Archives: "Copyright in a work which has been assigned to the Crown lasts 70 years after the death of the person who created it." (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/our-services/faqs.htm)

Ergo, Crown Copyright no longer applies.

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The full statement is:


Q. How long does Crown copyright last?

A.This depends on whether the work has been published.

Crown copyright work which has been published will have copyright protection for 50 years from the end of the year in which the work was published.

Unpublished works have a period of protection of 125 years from the end of the year in which the work was made or until 31 December 2039 (i.e. 50 years from the year in which the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 came into force).

Copyright in a work which has been assigned to the Crown lasts 70 years after the death of the person who created it.

Assignment is very specific legal case where a work created by a third-party which would normally be copyright of that party instead has its copyright assigned to the Crown (rather than the Crown Copyright existing automatically as the work was created by a Crown Servant in the course of their duties). It's the bit about unpublished works I was think of.

Likewise:

Point taken, but the scans themselves are straight scans. I'm not convinced that this meets the criteria of independant creative effort.

Very ilttle is a "straight scan" as I said, various processes are carried out during the digitisation process, and in UK law, the degree which constitutes "independent creative effort" is not particularly well established in case law. I'm certainly no copyright expert, and there is often much FUD applied, but hefty fines can result from copyright infringement.

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Very ilttle is a "straight scan" as I said, various processes are carried out during the digitisation process, and in UK law, the degree which constitutes "independent creative effort" is not particularly well established in case law. I'm certainly no copyright expert, and there is often much FUD applied, but hefty fines can result from copyright infringement.

Thanks David - I'm no copyright expert either! But...again from the IPO:

"Simply creating copies of an image won’t create a new copyright in the new item, but when an analogue image

is digitised lawfully (that is, with permission from the copyright owner), then in principle a new copyright could

be created if there was sufficient skill and creativity to alter the analogue image enough for it to be a new and

original work. Opinions differ on how much of a change would be needed. Generally speaking, if you are just

making minor changes, then the only copyright would still be that which belongs to the person who created the

original image." (http://www.ipo.gov.uk/c-notice-201401.pdf)

I guess the arguable point (Your Honour) is whether or not the analogue image has been altered enough to meet the 'new and original' criteria (I don't think it has, but accept your point about "straight scans").

This has got me curious now. I've e-mailed the IPO detailing the situation (but without mentioning the WFA or IWM) to see what their take on it is. The last thing I want to do is infringe anyone's copyright (which is why I'm looking into this), but in this case I don't think that copyright can be claimed. I accept that the WFA needs to try to protect its income stream from the DVDs (and at 20 quid each they're very good value), and I'm not having a pop at them, but I think they're wrong.

If copyright can be claimed of the digital images, then anyone on the forum who has posted scans from one of their trench maps could be in a spot of bother...!

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Use of individual scans (or portions of) is likely to be considered under the Fair Dealing provisions of the relevant acts, and so is not necessarily infringing.

As I say the issue is that there is little British case law in this area determining what the degree of alteration is in order to qualify. It is a contentious area as often it is the income stream from previous digitisation work that helps funds more, so many GLAMs (galleries, libraries, archives and museums will assert copyright), though the British Library for example has recently released 1 million plus images from copyright expired books as Public Domain.

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Interesting topic. There was a case involving Wikimedia and a British gallery that centred on this point, no?

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If the WFA spent time and money, scanning these 'out of copyright' images, and spent more money having these images put on DVD format, so that Bob in Auchtermuchty doesn't have to travel to London to view them, then these images surely belong to them?

By all means travel to Kew and make your own copies for free, but you will have to pay for your own petrol/bus fare/train fare etc

Mike

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If the WFA spent time and money, scanning these 'out of copyright' images, and spent more money having these images put on DVD format, so that Bob in Auchtermuchty doesn't have to travel to London to view them, then these images surely belong to them?

By all means travel to Kew and make your own copies for free, but you will have to pay for your own petrol/bus fare/train fare etc

Mike

Quite right Mike, it must have been a big undertaking for them financially trying to reproduce those maps with the size that some of them are. I've photographed some maps at Kew and it is a nightmare trying to do the big ones so getting the equipment to take on maps of that size must have been a challenge in itself and the maps are of excellent quality. I think, if I'm not mistaken, they have the IWM/WFA logo across the top of them. They were going to produce a CD of the Cambrai area, which I was looking forward to but they never did and when I contacted them to ask them when it would be done, they said there was insufficient interest in the previous maps they did, to make another one financially viable :(

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Interesting topic. There was a case involving Wikimedia and a British gallery that centred on this point, no?

There was, but it was resolved amicably I think. There is some more information here..

There was also a FOI piece here which makes quite interesting reading. It looks as if this fizzled out though.

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So, if you can't download maps due to copyright, can you take your laptop or whatever with you and use it on Wifi to find places?

Can you take a book with you and show it to other people who have not paid to see it?

Methinks the law needs someone with some brains to have a look at it.

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So, if you can't download maps due to copyright, can you take your laptop or whatever with you and use it on Wifi to find places?

Can you take a book with you and show it to other people who have not paid to see it?

Methinks the law needs someone with some brains to have a look at it.

I'm not sure I follow your meaning but as David said earlier, there would probably not be an issue with putting up a singular map or portion thereof on the internet in the public domain (such as a forum or own website) as long as you credit the source of the image so for example if it had been photographed from TNA, then TNA would be the source cited or, if it was the IWM/WFA collection then I would cite that as the source. The iBook/eBook thing is a bit crackers! If it is copyright then it is usually DRM protected so confining it to one (or in the case of some) a few limitations on downloads and devices. When you consider, a paper book can change hands many times and even be sold on then it is stupid - once you have paid for and downloaded it, you should be able to do as you please with it, as you would a paper book but it seems not to be so.

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