Copyright & Other Intellectual Property Rights

This document, which sets out IASA policy, is intended to provide guidance to audiovisual archivists on professional conduct in the area of intellectual property legislation. It also provides a basis for professional representation to government and other bodies who may draft or revise legislation in this area.

1. Background

Audiovisual archives hold cultural heritage covering all spheres of musical, artistic, sacred, scientific and communications activity, reflecting public and private life, and the natural environment, in the form of published and un-published recorded sound and image. Archives are responsible for the preservation of these holdings to enable both present and future access.

The principle enshrined in copyright is that creators of audiovisual works (composers, authors, producers, performers) should enjoy the benefits of their creation, and have legal protection against the unfair exploitation of their works by others. This protection provides an economic basis for continuing creative activity. These arrangements give rights-owners the right to license certain "restricted acts" such as copying, public performance, and broadcasting. In recognition of the common ownership of a shared cultural memory these rights are subject to limitations of term.

Legislation exists at international and national level. Agreements such as the Berne Convention 1886, the Rome Convention 1952, and subsequent directives and treaties of the European Commission, the World Trade Organisation and the World Intellectual Property Organization are reflected in the national legislation of signatory or member countries. Intellectual property rights extend beyond the original concept of author's copyright to include moral rights and the neighbouring rights of publishers and performers.

Audiovisual archives are mainly concerned with the rights owners' prerogative to restrict copying and public performance. Revisions to legislation in the context of digital materials have particular impact on the archival activities of preservation and access.

2. Key principles

1. IASA recognises the general benefit to society of copyright protection and seeks to develop good relations with rights-holders and their representatives.

2. Audiovisual archives should operate within the framework of international and national legislation.

3. IASA supports the principle of limiting the duration of intellectual property rights in the interests of wider public access to cultural heritage.

4. Public interest exemptions or exceptions to the legal framework should be legislated, where necessary, to enable audiovisual archives within the public sector to fulfil their obligations to the taxpayer.

5. IASA recognises the moral rights of indigenous peoples, and believes that archivists should respect these rights where they are not already protected by legislation. Reference should be made to relevant international bodies (e.g. UNESCO) for the extent and nature of these rights. This principle may include recordings whose legal term of protection has expired, or whose un-expired rights are held by the archive.

3. Policies on archival exemptions

The following archival activities should be exempt from copyright protection:

3.1 Acquisition

1. recording of broadcast or webcast, terrestrial or satellite transmissions, to add material to the Archive;

3.2 Collection management

1. making copies of recordings for the purposes of preservation;

2. digitisation of analogue recordings for the purpose of preservation;

3.3 Access

1. the playback of archive recordings on the archive's premises without charge to individuals or groups for the purposes of education, study, or research;

2. the use of archive recordings in exhibitions or educational events on the archive's premises;

3. the loan of archive recordings to other publicly funded archives, libraries, museums, or galleries, for use in exhibitions or educational events, subject to written agreements between the institutions restricting the use of the recordings to this designated purpose;

3.4 Publication

1. the inclusion of excerpts from recordings on the Archive's website;

2. the use of excerpts as illustrations in a printed publication issued by the archive.