UKRG Event: “Kanwe, Acquirem & Howe LLP!”: Museums, acquisitions and the Law
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Friday 21st April 2017

Talk: Acquisitions, exhibitions and getting copyright right Fredric Saunderson, Intellectual Property Specialist for National Library of Scotland (NLS)
Fred introduced us to the NLS collection situated in Edinburgh with a new site opening soon in Glasgow. The collection is comprised of c. 40 million items including eg: 5 million books, 8 million manuscripts as well as c.4000 new items entering the collection a day primarily through the legal deposit scheme. His role at NLS manages policy, understanding and communication around copyright for work in their collections.
Firstly Fred discussed how he has developed the NLS website information on copyright in order to be able to communicate more clearly its application to the collection.  The NLS website page on copyright is a fantastic resource:
He explained that one of the key areas around understanding copyright is in fact the exceptions – such as “fair dealing” where users need to really understand the parameters around the concept of “fair use”.  
Another of the areas he has been working on with NLS teams is the development of procedures and documentation around new acquisitions and deposits. He shared an example of a detailed flow chart which can be used to ascertain what kind of rights can be secured dependant on the nature of the deposit and the rights the Copyright Holder is willing to assign.
Fig 1. Acquisitions copyright process flow chart.
Photograph from Frederic Saunderson presentation at UKRG event 21 April 2017
Fred then discussed some of the ways in which cultural organisations can enable a richer visitor engagement with material, in particular photography in exhibitions, whilst trying to ensure respect of copyright parameters. His approach gave real food for thought – in September 2016 the NLS changed their exhibition visitor photography messaging style from (a) “no photography” (fig 2 on left) to (b) “Photography encouraged” (fig.2 on right). The new poster style steers the visitor to guidance on copyright, placing the responsibility in the visitor’s hands and signalling a change in attitude to address the changing way people engage whilst trying to clarify the boundaries of image use.
Fig 2. Two visitor photography posters –
LEFT: a) Traditional NLS style “No Photography” messaging
RIGHT: b) New NLS “Photography encouraged” poster messaging
Photograph from Frederic Saunderson presentation at UKRG event 21 April 2017
Fred has also been playing around with possible ideas for further simplification of the messaging (shown below in fig 3.) to make the Do’s and Don’ts even easier to quickly grasp (nb: poster not in use, just an ideas document). He also talked around the approach taken in their Reading Rooms where visitors sign up to similar responsibilities and clear information is shared on camera types for safety of the works etc.

Fig 3. Fred’s ideas around possible development of “Photography encouraged” poster
Photograph from Frederic Saunderson presentation at UKRG event 21 April 2017
There were some very interesting questions in the Q&A – for example one question focussed on the risk of lost income generation if photography is allowed and whilst Fred agreed there was a risk he suggested it would be considered low and it was better to police that risk with clear information on copyright and responsibility. However he also empathised that if an institution decided to go down this route that each exhibition might have to be on a case by case basis dependant on content, lender requirements etc in order to honour agreements.

Eloise Stewart, Exhibitions Manager, National Portrait Gallery