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Images © The Scotsman Publications Limited Photographed by Jane Barlow

Conference: Copyright & Cultural Heritage 2.0: Protecting Creators, Sharing Content

At our first conference in association with The Scotsman (‘The Digital Fabric of Scotland’, January 2014), the issue of copyright was raised by many of the delegates. Digital has thrown up many challenges for the creative industries and cultural heritage sector, not least how best they can protect the ownership and management of written and recorded materials in a world where content can be shared across the globe with the tap of a smartphone screen.

In recognition of this challenge, the UK government has made a series of small but important changes to copyright law to make it better suited for the digital age. These changes will affect how people can access and use material such as books, music, films and photographs.

There will be greater freedoms in copyright law to allow third parties to licence and use copyright works for economically and/or socially valuable purposes without the need to seek permission from copyright owners. But content creators have real concerns that their rights will not be fully respected under these changes.

It is essential that the cultural heritage sector fully understands these changes, implements the law correctly and takes a sector-wide approach rather than leave individual services to duplicate time-consuming copyright research.

This conference, held in Edinburgh on the 2 February 2014, was the first in Scotland to take an objective and expert look at copyright in the digital age. It provided an opportunity to:

  • focus on the impending changes and their practical impact
  • look across the copyright landscape as it affects the cultural heritage sector
  • learn from those with undoubted copyright expertise

The event formed part of a programme of activities undertaken by the Council. Since early 2014, we have been collaborating with CREATe, at the University of Glasgow, to deliver freely accessible online copyright guidance and a series of related capacity-building workshops for the archive sector. The Council is also the only UK-based accredited member organisation of the World Intellectual Property Organisation's (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR). Please visit our website here for details on activities to date.

You can read the post conference report here.