[open-humanities] The First Folio

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Fri Apr 25 09:07:33 UTC 2014

Just wanted to say that this has been a great thread and James comments
here were fantastic in explicating a set of complex social and legal issues
- thanks James!


On 24 April 2014 17:44, James Cummings <James.Cummings at it.ox.ac.uk> wrote:

> 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.
> Hi Seth,
> 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 the data.
>  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
>> <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:When_to_use_the_PD-Art_tag>,
>> 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 http://image.ox.ac.uk/show?
> collection=balliol&manuscript=ms238a 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. ;-)
> -James
> --
> Dr James Cummings, James.Cummings at it.ox.ac.uk
> Academic IT Services, University of Oxford
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