[open-humanities] The First Folio
James.Cummings at it.ox.ac.uk
Thu Apr 24 16:44:03 UTC 2014
On 24/04/14 16:25, Seth Woodworth wrote:
> Let me begin by thanking Bodleian for releasing this resource
> online, and for creating this wonderful TEI edition.
Let me be clear that I do not speak for the project, nothing
below is legal advice, and I am not a lawyer. I merely provided
the project with TEI encoding advice and a few bits of XSLT to
help further enrich, correct, or enable some planned searching of
> Thank you doubly for licensing this work under a license
> compatible with free cultural works (unlike the current
> quartos.org <http://quartos.org>).
There were some common members of both projects. I believe that
the quartos.org XML files have a non-commercial (CC+By+NC)
restriction on them and the images might be even more restricted.
I would be tempted to think this was an artifact of a
multi-national multi-institutional project. I do not work for the
Bodleian (but University of Oxford's IT Services), but believe
that the Bodleian has been increasingly working towards an
open-by-default policy in their digital materials.
> I will, of course, cite your organization as requested in any
> projects where I might use your works.
> But, I believe you are mistaken in your licensing on the scans.
I understand that you believe there was no new work in
photographing the the Bodleian First Folio. The work was unbound,
conserved, and photographed, all of which are quite skilled
stages in conservation, curation, and preservation. They were
photographed in raw then converted to tiff then even lower-res
but still quite high jpg that you can download fully from the
site). I would be unsurprised if the Bodleian wanted to argue
that these are not mere scans but high quality photographs with a
lot of work and thought put into them.
> In the UK and US there is a doctrine that states that there is no
> sweat-of-brow copyright.
> Transcribing the work into a new format (.jpg) does not grant a
> fresh copyright on the work.
> Ownership of copyright is a prerequisite to licensing it to third
> parties, under a CC license or otherwise.
> Wikipedia has a policy about scans of PD works
> that may be relevant.
This may confuse the intellectual property right of the text (FF
is pre-copyright) with that of the digital images. I do not
believe that any new copyright in the First Folio has been
created, or indeed ever existed, but digital images of out of
copyright works _do_ attract IPR. If I stood outside the Bodleian
building and took a photo of the building, you would not argue (I
suspect) that I did not have copyright over my digital image. I
chose how to frame it, what time of day to take it, whether to
have someone cycling by with an Oxford gown on, and indeed how to
post-process it to make it look sunny. Likewise if I was in front
of a different object that happens to be a book and took a
photograph of that, then I should still have copyright in that
photograph. (Presuming I didn't sign away this right by
conditions of access or something, c.f. British Museum.) I
haven't changed the copyright of the original. You are right,
however, that it is possible to argue that the First Folio (as a
pre-copyright work) should not be able to be subject to a
creative commons license because no one owns the copyright in it.
This is not true, many would argue, of the carefully crafted
digital images of the conserved object. I suspect that if
resource holding institutions were told that they had to openly
release any image they took of an out of copyright work as public
domain it would be disastrous for the future of (and future
research on) our cultural heritage objects. They'd just stop
taking the images (or make it so costly as to be prohibitive). At
least these images are available for download under a really
quite permissive license.
I do happen to know that, because the project to create the
images was crowd-funded by the public, the desire is and was
always to have the images available with the fewest restrictions
possible for the public. I believe those involved with the
project went out of their way to ensure a not more-restrictive
(e.g. +NC) license was applied. That the Bodleian is moving in
the direction of releasing more of its digital materials under
open licenses is a good thing, IMHO. And has come a long way
compared to a decade ago (compare the restrictions on
for example). It is better than the alternative (because the only
real alternative is more restrictive, it will be a while, I
suspect, before CC0 and/or public domain is a default with
resource-holding institutions). Only time will tell.
> I am unclear if a TEI document is a new creative work, or a
> faithful conversion into a new format, implying it isn't
> copyrightable either.
A TEI XML marked up work is almost *definitely* a new creative
work. The encoding or annotation of texts is almost always an
intellectual activity in itself given the amount of
interpretation and choice of encoding that digital editors have.
To suggest that such encoding could ever be an uncontested
'faithful conversion' shows that I should be pointing you to the
TEI Guidelines to see the vast array of choices and possibilities
for interpretation that exist:
http://www.tei-c.org/release/doc/tei-p5-doc/en/html/ (All TEI
Consortium materials are dual-licensed CC+by and BSD 2-clause if
you are interested.)
> But I would be very curious to hear people's positions on the matter.
While I dislike cultural resource holding institutions of any
kind imposing limitations on access to their digital materials,
CC+By is an open enough license for me.
> Again, your licensing terms are 100% agreeable to me, and I will
> respect your wishes for attribution regardless.
Again, not mine, but the Bodleian's and I believe they were the
best the project could get within current policy. In the end it
is better to have them available than not available, and citation
is a very low barrier to use. I'm sure that feedback would be
appreciated to shakespeare at bodleian.ox.ac.uk.
Again, I'm only tangentially involved in the project, do not
speak for them or the Bodleian library, and have no legal basis
for any of my personal comment or musings above. ;-)
Dr James Cummings, James.Cummings at it.ox.ac.uk
Academic IT Services, University of Oxford
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