Insight into what we know about how Copyright reform will progress over the coming year.

by Julia Fallon, IPR & Policy Advisor

Copyright reform is on the EU’s agenda. Following on from last years Public Consultation on the review of EU copyright rules, officials got busy reading all 9,500 responses (including ours). A summary report of the responses were published and proposals for reform were put on the back burner until the new Commissioners found their offices and set their agendas. In the meantime, the responses were rigorously reviewed by the wider IPR community notably an article by Leonhard Dobusch showing the imbalance of current copyright laws and Kennislands Paul Keller declaring “Europes’ Cultural Heritage Institutions deserve better!”.

 

Leonhard Dobusch showing the imbalance of current copyright laws. Click here for the full article.

 

New faces & a new home for Copyright

After the European elections the responsibility for Copyright shifted from DG Market to DG Connect - overseen by MEP Gunther Oettinger. In addition, Vice President for the Digital Single Market MEP Andrus Ansip, is charged with coordinating EU digital policy, which includes taking a special interest in the impact of copyright reform. Commission President Juncker, VP Ansip and MEP Oettinger have all promised that reform of copyright is high on their agenda for 2015.

Developing the recommendations for copyright reform

The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) has formed a working group on IPR and copyright reform. Coordinated by MEP Jean Marie Cavada it meets monthly to hear from academics, expert and stakeholders on the all aspects of copyright reform. Rapporteur of the review of the InfoSoc Directive, MEP Julia Reda published a draft report on the 15th January discusses and provides recommendations on exclusive rights as well as exceptions & limitations in light of the feedback received during the public consultation.

Putting the copyright reform discussion into a broader context of the digital single market, MEP Madelin, VP Ansip and MEP Oettinger are hosting a stakeholder forum at the Commission on February 24th. You can register to attend here or follow the debates with #Digital4EU.

Making the arguments for Cultural Heritage Institutions

By the second half of 2015, and following the reports of the working group and conclusions of the stakeholder forum we expect the Commision to have published their recommendations for copyright reform. Using the consensus driven arguments that we submitted in our response to the public consultation, we are lobbying the Commission and MEPs to meet the needs of Europe’s cultural heritage institutions in their recommendations.

Get involved

We will publish updates via our pro blog - look out next week for our opinion on the draft report of the working group. You can also follow our activity and join the conversation at @EuropeanaIPR.

On the Europeana Pro blog, we want to highlight the good work being done by the Europeana Network. This time, Matilda Karlsson, business developer at Swedish Open Cultural Heritage (K-samsök in Swedish) talks to us about their work.

Hi Matilda, how are you doing?
Good! All is going well.

You work at Swedish Open Cultural Heritage. What are the aims of your organisation?
The aim of Swedish Open Cultural Heritage (SOCH) is to give people access to cultural heritage that is as usable as possible: as free as possible to use and re-use, containing good quality data, enriched with context, and so on. SOCH is part of the government agency Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet), whose mission is to play a proactive, coordinating role in heritage promotion and to ensure that the historic environment is preserved as effectively as possible. The Swedish National Heritage Board is also a data provider to SOCH.

 

Stereoscopic Photograph by an unknown author. Part of the Tekniska Museum collection. Public Domain.

With how many Swedish institutions are you currently working? 

Several of the memory institutions that work with us are organised as umbrella organisations, so how many we work with depends on how you count. :-) If we count the ones listed as data providers in our search interface Kringla, there are 48 institutions on the list. There's a variety of institutions represented: museums for specific topics, regional and local museums, and also the Swedish National Heritage Board's own databases of monuments and building data plus historic photographs.

SOCH provides a lot of records to Europeana, but that is probably not all that you do isn’t it?
No there are a couple of more things. SOCH consists of four parts:

  1. Developing and managing the web service (which is also the national museum aggregator for delivering data to Europeana) that harvests metadata from memory institutions in Sweden, creating a platform for cross-searching records from those databases.
  2. Developing and managing an API that allows third parties to build on the data in the SOCH web service.
  3. Developing and managing Kringla, a SOCH search application (website on http://www.kringla.nu and an Android app). On the Kringla website, users can link together related objects in SOCH, link to related objects in Europeana, and also link objects to Wikipedia and to Libris, the Swedish national search service for publications. The links that are created there will be available through an open API
  4. Developing and managing Platsr, a website for collecting user-generated content and democratic historiography. Platsr also has an API. 

A large part of the work is not technical in nature, though. We work a lot with digital infrastructure and organisation issues etc, as well as marketing the APIs, web service and applications. 

Why are you working with Europeana?
Because we want digitised cultural heritage to be used and re-used as widely as possible. Europeana is an important platform for cultural heritage data internationally, both as a way to reach many people and as a forum for collaboration and interesting projects.

You are providing a lot of direct links to the material. Was this a deliberate choice, and if so, why?
We know that people want access to good-quality pictures, and when those pictures are already available through SOCH of course they should be available for use and re-use in as many places as possible. Since it was as simple as supplying an isShownBy field, it was relatively easy to implement. Access to larger images is useful in many different situations, for example in projects such as Då och nu a contest (organised by Wikimedia Sweden, Europeana and Swedish National Heritage Board) that consisted of taking photos on the exact spot where an old photograph was taken.

 

Mjällby kyrka. Picture taken in 1917. Part of the collection of the Riksantikvarieämbetet. Public Domain

In the SOCH dataset a wide variety of copyright licenses can be found. Can you tell a bit about how you go about with the licensing?  
It's up to the providers to decide which rights statements they want to use. Many memory institutions in Sweden use Creative Commons licenses, though the most common license in SOCH is the restrictive CC BY-NC-ND so the collections are not as free as they could be. Very little is labelled with full copyright though. (there are graphs in this blog post

To deliver data the institutions should follow SOCH's rights model (which is similar to the Europeana one). There are still a lot of unlabelled images in our index though, mostly because some providers haven't yet made policy decisions on how their digital collections may be used. This is also a big issue for memory institutions that don't yet participate in SOCH. The Swedish National Heritage Board tries to promote openness in digital heritage by being a good example, so our own data is licensed as openly as possible (Public Domain Mark or CC BY is the default).

Any things that are particularly interesting to mention that are not included so far?
The SOCH source code is available to use - it's not yet in any code repository but the code can be downloaded here. On the same page is the source code for our Android search app which was developed in 2010.

Thanks so much! Looking forward to working with you in 2015.

This blog was written by Henning Scholz - Partners & Operations manager at Europeana and Tom Miles - project manager at the British Library.

In December 2013, the British Library released over one million public domainimages onto Flickr Commons. 60,000 of these images are now available in Europeana for your creative re-use.

The images were taken from 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft and generously gifted to the British Library. This vast release of material was carried out by the British Library’s ‘BL Labs’, funded by the Mellon Foundation.

The metadata of the scanned images was sparse - only the title and author of the book were available. Fortunately, Flickr users began tagging the images and by November 2014, more than 100,000 contextual tags had been added to more than 60,000 images. For example, an illustration of a bird like the one below might be tagged with ‘fauna’ and the name of the species.

 

Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus) from ‘A Spring and Summer in Lapland: with notes on the fauna of Luleä Lapmark’ (by H.W. Wheelwright) - Public Domain marked.

The high resolution scanned images are wide-ranging in content, including maps, illustrations, decorations, landscapes, wall paintings, portraits and more. And as they’re in the pubilc domain, they’re perfect for creative re-use. That’s why the Europeana Creative project wanted to make all the well-tagged images available in Europeana.

The ingestion of these images into Europeana is great news for our creative industry partners. The pilot application for the ‘Design’ strand of the Europeana Creative project is ‘Culture Cam’, a webcam-based similarity search tool offering designers, artists and all creative people the ability to explore and access Europeana images in a fun, playful and intuitive way. The British Library Flickr images will be integrated into the application within the next few weeks, making them available for exploration.

So, how did we do it?

The British Library prepared the metadata for the images in close collaboration with Europeana and The European Library - the first time Flickr images have been prepared for Europeana. One of the challenges was to ensure that the image links all point to the right place on Flickr. In addition, each metadata record needed to link to the full pdf of the book and the British Library book viewer, so that people can access the book and either download it or read it online, seeing the image in its original context.

Another challenge was to make the titles for every object in Europeana as meaningful as possible. At first, we used the first Flickr tag of each image as the Europeana title but many items had the same tag, e.g. thousands of images were tagged ‘map’. So we added the title of the book to add more context. The image above is a good example. The tag from Flickr is ‘Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus)‘ while the book title ‘A Spring and Summer in Lapland: with notes on the fauna of Luleä Lapmark (by H.W. Wheelwright)’ provides the necessary context.

It was important to visualise how this data would display on Europeana. Would just one word be sufficient as a title? Could the title be improved by globally combining one field with another? At what point should all this global editing take place? Close collaboration between Europeana, the aggregators and data providers is currently the best way of making the right decisions. Meanwhile, Europeana is working on streamlining and improving the aggregation infrastructure and ingestion workflows to make it easier for institutions to participate and share their best data.

The British Library Flickr photostream has demonstrated how useful ‘crowd-sourced’ activity can be in enhancing records. On Flickr, many individuals adding tags unknowingly worked as a team. For example, some individuals simply tagged images with the word ‘map’. Others then added geo-references to those images. One individual might tag 100 images as ‘bird’, allowing a more expert user to add more specific information. Crowd-sourcing should not be seen as a replacement to professional cataloguing, rather, a tool in the curator’s workshop to be used with skill and judgement.

Get involved

This work demonstrates a new way of creating attractive and re-usable high quality content for Europeana. It also solves a known issue for memory institutions that want to share their precious photo collections with Europeana while hosting them on Flickr. We welcome more data partners to use this approach to feature and share their best material. For any questions, please email Henning Scholz. For any questions about the British Library’s role in Europeana Creative, please email Tom Miles.

Text (modified) by Gregory Markus, Europeana Tech Community Manager

Europeana Creative and its partners will be present at the Europeana Tech Conference 2015 in ParisOn 12-13 February, Europe’s leading technical experts, developers and researchers in the field of digital cultural heritage will convene in Paris for the 2nd EuropeanaTech Conference at theNational Library of France. Attendees and presenters will share knowledge and collaborate on the themes of data modelling, content re-use, discovery, multilingualism and open data. We’re calling it ‘Making the beautiful thing - Transforming technology and culture’.

We’re delighted to be joining and participating together with expert from across Europe and the globe to share progress, address problems, and further the technical aspects of Europeana. Join our technical partners in a dedicated session to explore Europeana Labs.  

Keynote Speakers

The conference will welcome renowned international creative and cultural sector leaders as keynote speakers:

Emma Mulqueeny, Founder and CEO of Rewired State & Young Rewired State, a renowned champion of empowering social change with technology will present ‘Transforming Technology and Culture’.

Andy Neale, Director of Digital NZDan Cohen, the founding Executive Director of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA); and Tim Sherratt, Manager of Australia’s Trove will discuss ‘Translating the Technology for Use’. They will also participate in a panel discussion. We look forward to hearing how each one of them innovatively presents their country’s cultural heritage to the world.

Chris Welty, of Google Research will present ‘Cloud and Culture: Technologies for culture heritage’. Welty is a semantic web mastermind who worked on on IBM’s WatsonGNU Emacsand developed OntoClean.

Seb Chan, Director of Digital and Emerging Technologies at Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will be ‘Guessing the Future’ of museums. Few professionals are as qualified to make this guess as Seb Chan who spent most of 2014 'rebooting' Cooper-Hewitt. You can read all about it in this glowing review from the New Yorker.

Ignite Talks & Posters

With such a large community spread across the whole continent, it’s hard to stay up-to-date with everyone’s work. So this year the Europeana Tech Conference is offering ‘Ignite’ talk and poster slots: a.k.a. your chance to showcase the fantastic work you do.

If you have an inspiring project you’d like to present at EuropeanaTech 2015, submit your Ignite proposal nowThe deadline is Friday 22 January so act fast!

Breakout Sessions

There will be several breakout sessions led by experts in the relevant field who will present ideas and moderate discussion. 

More info

View the conference programme.

On 12-13 February, Europe’s leading technical experts, developers and researchers in the field of digital cultural heritage will convene in Paris for the 2nd EuropeanaTech Conference at the National Library of France. Attendees and presenters will share knowledge and collaborate on the themes of data modelling, content re-use, discovery, multilingualism and open data. We’re calling it ‘Making the beautiful thing - Transforming technology and culture’. We’re delighted to be getting great minds from across Europe and the globe together to share progress, address problems, and further the technical aspects of Europeana. So why not join us?

The EuropeanaTech community is the research and development branch of the greater Europeana Network. Over the past few years, the significance of managing all the data and content now available through Europeana has grown tremendously, as has the importance of improving access and promoting re-use. EuropeanaTech 2015 will showcase the fantastic and groundbreaking work being done within the Europeana Network and plan how we can work cooperatively to continue our progress in the years to come.

Keynote Speakers

We are incredibly excited to welcome renowned international creative and cultural sector leaders as our keynote speakers. Having these individuals together at one conference is a real privilege, making EuropeanaTech 2015 a must-attend event:

Emma Mulqueeny, Founder and CEO of Rewired State & Young Rewired State, a renowned champion of empowering social change with technology will present ‘Transforming Technology and Culture’.

Andy Neale, Director of Digital NZ; Dan Cohen, the founding Executive Director of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA); and Tim Sherratt, Manager of Australia’s Trove will discuss ‘Translating the Technology for Use’. They will also participate in a panel discussion. We look forward to hearing how each one of them innovatively presents their country’s cultural heritage to the world.

Chris Welty, of Google Research will present ‘Cloud and Culture: Technologies for culture heritage’. Welty is a semantic web mastermind who worked on on IBM’s Watson, GNU Emacs and developed OntoClean.

Seb Chan, Director of Digital and Emerging Technologies at Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will be ‘Guessing the Future’ of museums. Few professionals are as qualified to make this guess as Seb Chan who spent most of 2014 'rebooting' Cooper-Hewitt. You can read all about it in this glowing review from the New Yorker.

Ignite Talks & Posters

With such a large community spread across the whole continent, it’s hard to stay up-to-date with everyone’s work. So this year we are offering ‘Ignite’ talk and poster slots: your chance to showcase the fantastic work you do. Ignite talks are short bursts of inspiration, presenting projects and developments in easy bitesize pieces.

If you have an inspiring project you’d like to present at EuropeanaTech 2015, submit your Ignite proposal now. The deadline is Friday 16 January so act fast!

Breakout Sessions

To create more discussion and dialogue at this year’s conference, we’re forgoing the standard presentation/Q&A conference format. Instead, we’re having parallel breakout sessions for each conference theme. You can join a conversation in your area of expertise or venture off into new territory and see what else is happening in the community. Each session will be led by experts in the relevant field who will present ideas and moderate discussion.

More info

View the conference programme.

Register to attend. Registration costs 60 Euro.

You’reTech, YourTech, #EurTech15

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About

The Europeana Professional Blog is for people working in the field of digital cultural heritage. For more information or to contribute, contact susan.muthalaly@europeana.eu.

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