Monday, 26 November 2007

Managing Intellectual Property for Museums

I’ve just become aware of a useful new publication from WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organisation) called ‘the WIPO Guide on Managing Intellectual Property for Museums

The executive summary explains that:

“In the digital age, the cultural heritage community is increasingly faced with the responsibility of managing its own IP internally, as well as managing uses by third parties and users throughout the world, often on diminishing budgets. Effective use of the IP system allows museums to meet international standards of best practice, and can offer significant opportunities to leverage their goodwill, authenticity, uniqueness and scholarly expertise to generate a return on investment.

The first part of the Guide describes IP issues of relevance to museums such as rights in scholarly content, technologies developed in-house, and branding tools that provide recognition and awareness of the museum in a commercial context. It also sets out recommended best practices in managing IP to enable a museum to identify its IP, understand its rights in using its collections, and strengthen its ability to deal with critical IP issues as they arise. The second part of the Guide reviews existing business models that could provide museums with appropriate opportunities to create sustainable funding, and deliver on their stated objectives.
The WIPO-commissioned author of the guide – Mrs Rina Elster Pantalony – is a recognized Canadian expert in the field of museums and cultural heritage institutions.”

You can learn more about the publication by listening to an interview with the author Rina Pantalony on the website of the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN). A transcript of the interview is also available.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Massive Loss of Confidential Details by Revenue and Customs

Bit of an obvious one to report on but seeing as it is data protection related how could I resist?!

The loss has been reported widely as the top news story in many papers. You can check out the BBC, Guardian and Times coverage form these links.

In addition the Information Commissioner’s Office has released an official statement on the matter.

If you are interested in the data protection principles you can find them in the Data Protection Act 1998 on the OPSI website.

I think this situation highlights the importance of good practice and genuine compliance. As the information commissioner, Richard Thomas, is reported to have said:

“it just does not matter what laws, rules, procedures and regulations are in place, if there is no proper enforcement of those rules.”

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Legal Implications of Web 2.0

An interesting article in the Times discussing the copyright and privacy issues inherent in Web 2.0.

Image by gualtierocatrame on Flickr CC-BY-NC

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Free the Postcode!

While writing my last post I came across this initiative (Free the Postcode!) from a link on Chris Fleming’s website. The website says:

“The postcode database - which turns a postcode to a latitude/longitude and back - is not free in the UK. In fact, it's very expensive. The Post Office owns it and sells it to various companies that make use of it for things like insurance or parcel tracking. There are however many people who'd like to use it for non-profit purposes. Say you want to lay out events like free concerts / gigs on a map and you only have the postcode... you have to buy the database.
Instead, wouldn't it be nice if it was free like zipcodes are in the US? To do this, you have to have a number of people collaborating with GPS units who note positions and postcodes. Hence this site to collect that data.”

It then provides a way for people to enter data that they have collected themselves with a GPS. My little knowledge of GPS was gained on some work I did on the GRADE project (Scoping a Geospatial Repository for Academic Deposit and Extraction). If you’re interested in the issues involved in the reuse of geospatial data you can take a look at the project here.

Around the World in 80 Clicks (Legal and IT aspects of geospatial data)

For those of you in Edinburgh and around - this talk by Chris Fleming of the OpenStreetMap project looks interesting:

Around the World in 80 Clicks (Legal and IT aspects of geospatial data)
Wednesday 14 November 2007
6.00 for 6.30 p.m.
The Faculty of Advocates, McKenzie Building (behind Fringe Office) High Street, Edinburgh

The announcement says:

"The OpenStreetMap project is a way of creating a free crowd sourced map allowing users use of the data for any purpose they might wish, avoiding some of the restrictions of both traditional mapping and seemingly free maps such as Google maps. Since it started over 5000 people in every continent have start mapping from places as diverse as Iraq, Australia, Brazil, Spain and Germany. Mapping of the whole of the Netherlands has been donated by a commercial mapping company and at the current rate of progress it is hoped that the mapping of the UK will be completed by the end of 2008.

In this talk, Chris Fleming will talk about and demonstrate the mapping process, how to create a map without violating copyright from the use of GPS devices to sources of copyright free data such as out of copyright maps and aerial photography. At its inception OpenStreetMap chose a Creative Commons ShareAlike-Attribution licence, and Chris will talk about the appropriateness of this licence for this kind of project, what this style of licence has encouraged and both the benefits and the limitations of the licence conditions. He will also consider alternative licences and the difficulties involved in changing licences.
Chris graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in Computer Science and Electronics in 2000. By day he works for Agilent Technologies (formally part of HP) based in South Queensferry monitoring systems for telecoms networks. While working on web development he became frustrated with the state of commercially available sources of mapping data and so became involved in the OpenStreetMap project in early 2006. Since then he has been participating in discussions around the usage and licensing of the data as well as talking about the project in Scotland and organising a mapping party in Edinburgh."

To book a place they ask that you e-mail Rosie Saunders at:

You might also want to check out OpenGeoData. This is a blog about open maps, geographical data and OpenStreetMap.