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Research often builds on copyrighted material. Researchers also produce new material that they themselves hold the copyright to.
Hello, Solveig. Hello. Now we have been talking about data management and also some privacy issues. And there are also some copyright issues that we need to think about when we are doing this type of empirical research. And now I’m very happy to stand here with Solveig, who’s a librarian and also a musician and composer. So you know about copyright from many different perspectives. And what are some of the things that researchers need to think about when they are dealing with copyright in various ways? OK, so a researcher might want to include some data that is actually copyrighted material. It could be a choreography or an artwork or a piece of music.
And it would be copyrighted even if it’s their own music that they are improvising. And intellectual rights has a– there’s an [? ideal ?] part and there’s also an economical part. And many countries have what we call performance rights organisations, and they handle the economical bit. So if you wanted to include some musician improvising on guitar, for instance, chances are that you will have to pay for this use. And it could be pretty costly, especially if it’s video material. And I guess one of the rules of thumb here is to ask for permission, of course.
But sometimes it’s not even so easy to figure out who you should ask for because you don’t really– you may not know who’s actually the creator of an artwork. Yeah, that’s right. And the PROs are designed to protect their members, who are copyright holders. And in many cases, the right holders are not even allowed to give an open licence for their own work. And this is– it’s designed to protect them. But sometimes when it comes to research, it can make it very complicated. And maybe you are required by your institution or your funder to publish things as open science, and then you could run into problems if you wanted to use copyrighted material.
And it could be by– as you said, it’s not always easy to know who owns it. It could be one or several composers. Some of them are alive and some are not. And then you will need to acquire permission from whoever owns it now. And it could also be somebody who is improvising, and then they will be the right holders. So it’s– you will have to look into a good contract that gives you the right permissions, at least. And that’s for other people’s copyrighted material. But also as a researcher, you may also generate new data and media that could be copyrighted on its own. And how do you deal with that?
Yeah, it’s important to find the kind of licence that you want to use quite early on. I think you are already talking about data management and persistent identifiers. And in this early phase, it’s also really good to have a good thought thinking about how you want to licence your own work, do you want to do it as a Creative Commons, and what kinds of Creative Commons licence would be the best for you, do you want to make sure that you are attributed in the future, and things like that. It’s very important to think of these things. And Creative Commons is a good starting point because it’s international and standardised.
So as we see, there are quite a lot of things to think about when it comes to copyright. And I guess the most important things are to really think about it, to start with, and also check the creators on the copyrighted material that we are using and also to put a licence on your own work.

Research often builds on copyrighted material. Researchers also produce new material that they themselves hold the copyright to.

Alexander met up with Solveig Isis Sørbø, a librarian with copyright expertise, to discuss how to approach intellectual property rights as part of the research process.

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