Friday, 9 January 2009

Digital Copyright

Digital Copyright

What Rights? A Checklist of Rights in the Digital Environment

The main right which illustrators control in the digital environment is the reproduction right. It is the right to grant or refuse permission to reproduce a work. The following types of use involve reproduction.

Storage The right to store or fix an artistic work in digital form by scanning the image and storing it in the computer memory or on disc.

Viewing No public display right for artistic works, but displaying an image on the computer screen involves making a transient copy inside the computer which results in the appearance of the image on the screen.

Downloading Paper printouts e.g. low resolution black and white or colour copies on paper. Copies on CD/DVD for transferring to another computer. Copies on DVD at high resolution intended as origination for further reproductions.

Production Distinguished from other forms of downloading for the purpose of licensing commercial production runs of CD-ROM type products. Normally includes the right to distribute the product.

Network use Reproduction, including transient reproduction and distribution in a network environment. In licensing terms an artistic work would be licensed at one or more points in the chain of reproduction and distribution involved in network use. Matters of liability and applicable law are important for network use.

Manipulation Covered by the reproduction right. Also may be covered by the moral right to prevent derogatory treatment of a work. Creation of a new work from an existing work does not affect the copyright in the existing work. If permission to reproduce the existing work is not obtained first, then the owner of the copyright in the existing work may sue for infringement of copyright. This depends on how much of the existing work has been used (‘substantial part’ – this is both a qualitative and quantitative judgement).

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