Understanding the implications of copyright has become an increasingly important skill as masses of digital content are constantly being uploaded, shared, retweeted and remade into memes online. Moreover, copyright infringement cases involving prominent creators seem to be on the rise, perhaps this is due to digital content being readily accessible and effortlessly downloaded with a single click of the mouse. I’m pretty sure we are all guilty of streaming a pirated version of Game of Thrones or Girls whether we are conscious of infringing copyright or not. Furthermore, who are we to resist when we are acclimatised to the immediacy that the Internet provides us? Why would (and should) we wait for GOT to air in New Zealand, months after our US friends have watched it and divulged all the best parts?
While we may overlook copyright in our daily online lives, this is not the case for cultural institutions. The cultural sector has a legal obligation to arm themselves with copyright knowledge when digitising collection objects. My role as Rights Specialist at Auckland Museum is to ensure that every image displayed on Collections Online has been assessed and assigned a copyright statement so users are informed with how they can use or in some cases, reuse the digital image. So, in order to spread the copyright love, this week I thought I’d do a quick introduction to the wonderfully diverse world of copyright and share with you my top five things related to copyright.
1. People Suing People
I’m forever interested in the things that people sue other people for, especially when it’s related to copyright infringement. Trish Hepworth, Copyright lawyer, gives a very lively talk about interesting international copyright infringement cases, including the famed monkey selfie, copyrighting chicken sandwiches and interesting facts on Hitler’s copyright at the Australian Digital Alliance Forum 2016
2. Tumblr and Turnbull
If you haven’t yet checked out the incredible Turnbull Library Rare Books Tumblr and Turnbull Library Ephemera Tumblr’s then you are missing out. A further special mention goes to the highly entertaining National Library of New Zealand’s twitter account– tweeting twice daily #tbreaktweets of interesting library content from our very own Tusky – Amy Hackett. All of these accounts mainly post images where the content is out of copyright, or where the copyright status is unknown.
3. All of the FREE Pretty Pictures
This interesting blog post by Victoria Leachman, Te Papa Rights Advisor, on twenty Open GLAM websites shows where you can find free high resolution images to download and reuse, some even commercially! If you have been living under a rock and don’t know what Open GLAM is yet, I’ll forgive you. But do go and check out my earlier post on defining Open GLAM for more info. I fully endorse you to go forth and download all the cat images that you can find.
4. Rebellious Museums
An interesting research-led experiment Display At Your Own Risk by Andrea Wallace was released to coincide with World Intellectual Property day on 27th of April and invites people to download open and restricted images of public domain works from a selection of international institutions and display in their own spaces, but at their own risk. Interestingly, Te Papa features as one of the “open” institutions. The research project is accompanied by a selection of essays that focus on issues and opportunities for Open GLAM, copyright and 3D printing and overall the project explores in depth the concepts of ownership, access, user engagement and transparency related to digital surrogates of collection objects.
5. Kanye Kissing Kanye
Last but not least, I’ll leave you with this tangled web of copyright infringement – the infamous Kanye kissing Kanye saga. Buzzfeed’s article “I Photoshopped Kanye Kissing Himself and a Famous Artist Reportedly made $100,000 off it” explains it best. I recommend listening to “I Love Kanye (Brain Zapp Remix)” while reading.