Internal:Public Policy/Allowing digital backups by GLAMs

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This is background for item 6.2 on the May 23 2020 Board agenda
  • Dominic has alerted us to a petition. He and I recommend the chapter support it.
  • The issue: Technologically, GLAM institutions can make exact digital copies or recordings of their works as backups, but in some countries that is a copyright violation. The copyright violation can implicate the import and export rules that come in to play when a backup is stored, for safety, in another country.
  • The action: There's a petition to WIPO (the UN agency that acts on international intellectual property treaties) to encourage copyright law changes in the various nations to allow these backups.
  • Background:
    • When natural disasters hit cultural heritage institutions they can destroy unique works, as the fires in the museum in Brazil and the Notre Dame did. Iraq and Afghanistan lost unique sculptures in war time.
    • A change over time has been that 3D scans of sculptures, and photo images of documents, can now be so exact that precise replicas can be created. That enhances their usefulness for making replicas, but also enhances the risk of copyright violation.
    • I don't know of any case where a cultural heritage institution's backup was misused.
    • We could do more homework on which countries have copyright laws that need to be changed. It might be complicated because import and export rules are implicated. I do not have specific examples of countries or institutions or museum works which the changes would affect. However several of our allied organizations are on board: Wikimedia chapters in France, Spain, and Switzerland have signed it. The ALA and Creative Commons have signed it.
    • Supporting links are below.
  • Let's discuss, and I'd like to pass a resolution authorizing Dominic and me to sign the petition representing the chapter.