Copyright and licensing
It is necessary to take copyright seriously when creating a digital archive. While most community archive will not seek to profit from material stored under their auspices, there are still legalities with which compliance is required for fully legal operation. An obvious example of copyright violation would be to store copyrighted music, and it is easy to create policies to prevent that from occurring, but less obvious cases, such as determining the copyright holder of a photograph, can be more challenging. In addition, it does not seem right for a community archive to usurp someone else’s copyright, behaving the way some less than scrupulous social web sites often behave, by demanding unrestricted use. This can create issues, however, if a researcher wanted to re-use an object in a community archive, in which case appropriate rights need to be respected.
In the case of Assynt’s community digital archive, the rights of copyright holders are respected. Anyone offering an object for inclusion needs to sign a consent form indicating that they are in a position to make that offer, and allowing the Archive use of the object under the Archive’s Creative Commons licence, while the original copyright holder retains all the original rights. That allows the Archive both to use the object and to offer it only under a similar Creative Commons licence for other use, but not to offer it for use under a more restrictive licensing regime. In the case of a researcher wanting to re-use an object, the Archive’s copy can be used under a similar Creative Commons licence or the original copyright holder may agree to use under other terms.
The form contributors sign is simply agreement to an included Creative Commons licence. However, in the interests of simplified administration, a collected works version may be signed whereby agreement is granted for Archive use of multiple or any contribution from the contributor. Examples of the agreements are accessible below.