The SCONUL ACCSG training event “Copyright Challenges: Understanding the recent legislative changes and how to use them effectively” took place on January 26th at the Atrium, University of South Wales, Cardiff

Many thanks to Dr. Jonathan Davies, Data Protection and Copyright Manager, Aberystwyth University and Chair of the WHELF Copyright sub-group for contributing this posting.

There are some impressive views of Cardiff to be had from the upper floors of the University of South Wales’s Atrium Building situated not far from Queens Street railway station. The vista did not prove to be distracting, however, as the content of the day’s copyright training and information event was sufficiently engaging for all present. The SCONUL-run session was one of several organised at various centres throughout the UK to address the need for further copyright training for HE institutions’ copyright staff in the wake of last year’s amendments to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Many of the changes have a direct impact on the way in which colleges and universities handle copyright in terms of teaching and learning practices and also other library-based copying, with most staff still grappling with the implications and trying to apply them as effectively and compliantly as possibly.

The training element of the day was provided by Chris Morrison (University of Kent), in association with Dr Jane Secker and Naomi Korn Copyright Consultancy. Chris is an excellent speaker and facilitator and kicked off the session with an overview of copyright in terms of the type of works that are covered and also the usages accounted for by the legislation. He then went on to examine the main licences available to HE institutions and what they covered. The core session, which I think was the main attraction for attendees, then examined the changes to the 1988 Act. The legislation has always allowed a degree of copying in certain circumstances by individuals other than the copyright-holder. These allowances are termed ‘exceptions’ and it was the modification of these exceptions in 2014 which technically allows for a slightly greater freedom to copy material in prescribed circumstances. The session usefully contrasted the coverage of the old exceptions with that of the new, or reworded exceptions. Most engagingly, however, Chris was trialling a copyright game which involved cards being used to indicate the types of work, copying uses, exceptions and risks associated with the copying of given articles. These items included a reprint of an out of copyright book, a birthday card and a computer music package. The game prompted much discussion about the application of the legislation and the various licences available, and was a marvellously educational and entertaining learning tool.

The other big draw of the day was Sarah Brear of the Copyright Licensing Agency who provided a summary of recent licensing developments and projects. These included the planned continuation of the overseas campus coverage (currently the Overseas Campus-Based Students pilot), a digital repository and a scheme to clear extra amounts, such as second chapters, from works covered by the CLA Licence. A very useful panel discussion took place towards the end of the day and a wide array of issues were tackled including electronic theses and student-generated art.

The day was an undoubted success with attendees travelling not just from other counties of Wales, but also from parts of England. Sustenance was provided and, most noteworthy, was the afternoon’s supply of Welsh-cakes! And, finally, many thanks should go to Beth Pearce (USW) for organising the event.