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You should have a policy covering rights management. This could either be a standalone document or part of a wider collections management policy. Either way, in deciding your policy you will most likely need to consider these questions:
- What steps will you take to establish who holds any rights associated with new acquisitions or loans?
- If applicable, will you seek to acquire copyright, or a licence to use the material, in new acquisitions?
- Will you seek to acquire copyright, or a licence to use the material, in reproductions or other work carried out on behalf by volunteers or contractors?
- What steps will you take to research the rights associated with objects and reproductions already in your collections, and how will you prioritise this work?
- What is your policy on using material that is likely to be in copyright but whose rights holders are unknown or untraceable?
- To what extent will you help enquirers make contact with third-party rights holders, and how will you protect any personal data involved?
- What is your policy on licensing material for which you hold rights for use in different situations (eg commercial publication, re-use of online material)?
You should also have a written procedure that explains the steps to follow when managing rights associated with your collection. Spectrum’s suggested procedure is a useful starting point, but however you do it, your own procedure should meet the following minimum requirements:
|Minimum requirement||Why this is important|
|Where known, you record details of rights held by you and others in respect of your objects and reproductions – and reference this information from the relevant catalogue records.||You can quickly see from its catalogue record that an object or reproduction is subject to rights – and who the rights holder is.|
|You document rights associated with new acquisitions, and with new reproductions or other content created or commissioned by you, as soon as possible.||You do not build up a new backlog of material with poorly-documented rights information.|
|You keep rights holder contact details as up-to-date as practical, in line with your data protection policy.||You can contact rights holders (or their estates) if you need to, potentially up to 70 years after the original creator dies.|
|You document all agreements with rights holders that clear you to use their material – and reference these from the relevant catalogue records.||You can find written proof of permission to use copyright material if you need it (eg if a dispute arises in future).|
|Before using objects or reproductions likely to be in copyright, but where the rights holders are unknown or untraceable, you make reasonable enquiries and document these.||You can demonstrate due diligence if you decide to use the material anyway.|
|You document all licences allowing others to use material for which you hold copyright or publication rights – and reference these from the relevant catalogue records.||Where applicable, you can control how your rights-protected material is used.|
|Your system allows you to see when rights or licences have expired.||You are able to use material freely as it comes out of copyright.
You do not use material under licence for longer than allowed.