Archives, Libraries and Museums are revolting… and asking for support
The Imperial War Museum is displaying empty cases to protest against the Government’s decision to make orphaned works (documents, letters etc) covered by copyright until 2039 as part of the "Free Our History Campaign".
Under the act so called orphan works (where the author has died and no surviving family can be found) are now deemed to be covered by copyright until 2039 even if they are hundreds of years old. The UK is the only EU country to enact this.
To make matters worse the Government is putting into place a Licensing scheme where institutions that wish to display or use such material (including many WWI documents) have to prove in detail they have done everything possible to find the owner of the copyright and to pay a licensing fee as well.
The Government admits that were a newly discovered and unpublished work by Shakespeare found it would not be out of copyright until 2039. Unpublished letters from WWI where the writer had died and no family is known also fall under this act.
CLIP (Charted Institute of Library and Information Professionals) and Libraries and Archives are petitioning to have the copyright to be changed back to the author’s lifetime plus 70 years.
If you support this campaign against this unreasonable decision by the governmenr further details and the on-line petition can be found at Free Our History