Thursday 31 October
Copyright or Copyfraud?
Is it possible to claim copyright over digitized versions of documents recording public domain content?
Speaker: Dr. Sunimal Mendis, Center for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI), University of Strasbourg, France.
At present, a wealth of historical documents recording public domain content is stored in the ‘dark-archives’ of memory institutions to which members of the public are granted limited access. The advent of digitization has the potential to make the content recorded upon these documents easily and speedily accessible to users across the globe in the form of digital images. Thus, digitization has been hailed as a ‘digital renaissance’ in which the ‘forgotten-knowledge’ recorded upon these documents can be unfettered from their tangible carriers and widely circulated to be freely used in the enrichment of social, cultural and scientific discourse. Digitization has particular significance for scholars who are now able access and re-use these images in scientific research. However, in many instances such re-use is restricted through copyright claims made by the memory institutions and private sector entities who invest in the digitization process. But can a digital image of a public domain work produced through a mass-digitization process qualify for copyright protection?
This presentation analyzes the legitimacy of copyright claims that are made in respect of digital images of documents recording public domain content and explores the space available to researchers and scholars to re-use these images for non-commercial purposes. It also attempts to identify means by which the researcher community may contribute to policy-making in this area with the objective of achieving greater freedom in using digital images of public domain documents for research purposes.
Sunimal Mendis is an Assistant Researcher at CEIPI. She holds a PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Munich, Germany (awarded by the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich) and an LLM from the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC), Germany. She is the author of ‘A Copyright Gambit: On the Need for Exclusive Rights in Digitised Versions of Public Domain Textual Materials in Europe’.
Since capacities are limited, you are requested to register with Evina Steinova.