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Free our history. Reduce the term of copyright protection in unpublished texts to the author’s lifetime plus 70 years.

This petition had 1,091 supporters


Copyright law restricts and distorts how we tell UK history.

At the moment the duration of copyright in certain unpublished works is to the end of 2039, regardless of how old the work is. No other country in Europe has such restrictive provisions. European institutions are able to use such important historical material freely and lawfully, but in the UK we cannot.

In an empty museum display, there should be a letter from a First World War solider. 

Because of current UK copyright laws the original cannot be displayed.  

As part of the First World War Centenary many organisations want to make unpublished works such as diaries and letters accessible to the public. Because they are still under copyright protection they cannot do without permission from the rights holder. 

Up to 50% of archival records in the UK are ‘orphan works’. This is when the rights holder cannot be identified and/or traced. The Imperial War Museum has an estimated 1.75 million documents that are orphan works, approximately 20-25% of the 7.9 million documents in their collections.

We are calling on the UK Government reduce the term of copyright protection in unpublished text from 2039 to the author’s lifetime plus 70 years, as per the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (ERRA) 2013.

If you care about our history please sign the petition and use #catch2039 on Twitter to spread the word. Find out more about the campaign at www.cilip.org.uk/freeourhistory

 

(Image source: "Blank Page" by Niklas Freidwall, used under CC BY-NC 2.0 / cropped)



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The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals needs your help with “Lucy Neville-Rolfe: Free our history. Reduce the term of copyright protection in unpublished texts to the author’s lifetime plus 70 years.”. Join The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and 1,090 supporters today.