Monthly Archives: April 2012

Football update

Anyone who follows a football team for any length of time knows that the lows far outnumber the highs. For me one such low occurred the last time I turned out to cheer my team on last weekend.

Early in the second half the opposing goalkeeper took a hopeful but aimless punt upfield, as goalkeepers do. This is something which happens ten, maybe twenty, times in a game and rarely produces excitement of any kind. Imagine then, if you will, my consternation and that of my fellow supporters as we looked up to see the ball get caught in the wind, bounce and sail over the head of our own hapless goalie and into the net.

Of course it’s rare that non-league football hits the headlines. One incident which received rather more media coverage was when the same thing happened in a Premiership match last January when Everton’s Tim Howard scored a similar goal.

Predictably, within hours of the ball crossing the line a video clip of the Howard goal appeared on YouTube. Some time later there was an objection from the Premier League that the extract had been uploaded to the site without their permission and hence it had to be taken down.

At the time there was some discussion on the copyright mailing list I subscribe to (you’re jealous, aren’t you?) as to the whys and wherefores of this. Were the Premier League within their rights to complain? Maybe yes, given the fact that they claim ownership of TV footage of Premiership matches. What, though, if a spectator had filmed it himself on his phone? Could the Premier League justifiably object to this?

Would this be comparable to someone filming a live musical performance? Generally this wouldn’t be permissible because of a part of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act which gives individuals a “performance right”. This obliges anyone wanting to film a performance and share it with others to seek permission before doing so. This is why lecturers need to give their OK before their lectures are filmed.

Either way it’s doubtful that Tim Howard would object too strongly to having the single goalscoring achievement in his footballing career publicised as widely as possible.

(Image: Creative Commons courtesy of jbelluch)


Have you been to YouTube copyright school?

It’s so much a part of our everyday lives that we sometimes presume that YouTube content can be shared with whoever we want however we want, embedded in a blog, on a VLE, on a public website. And yes, it’s true that a lot of the content on the site is original material which has been uploaded for the express purpose of making it available to others.

Think of all the music videos and TV and film clips there are on the site though. How many of them have been uploaded with the consent of the artists and companies who own the rights?

Historically YouTube have taken quite a relaxed approach to copyright: they don’t do much to check whether or not material has been uploaded legally. They have tightened up though in recent times. What they will now do is remove a clip if they receive what they consider to be a valid complaint from a rights holder. And they’ll ban repeat offenders.

YouTube have also added some guidance on their copyright page but doesn’t the prospect of ploughing through all that information give you a sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach? You might, on the other hand, have a few minutes for this video, in the company of cartoon super-group, er, Lumpy and the Lumpettes:


In a nutshell:

•    Don’t use someone else’s video without permission
•    Don’t film someone else performing and then share the recording with others—without permission
•    Don’t take someone else’s material, adapt it, remix it, mash it up. Without permission.

Point hammered home then…

My new copyright blog…

Copyright is a prickly subject. There are more wrongs than rights and no easy explanations of the whys and wherefores.

As copyright officer in a university library I often come across videos, cartoons and blog posts which help me pick my way through the copyright maze, so I’m hoping this blog will let me share these things with you. You’re welcome to it.

Please comment, ask questions, argue. Complain if you’re moved to do so. I have some answers but probably not as many as I’d like.

I can commiserate if nothing else. Might that help? Copyright courses and education in plain English

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