Intellectual Property Rights

The main aim of the BHL-Europe project is to make biodiversity knowledge accessible on an open access basis to a wide spectrum of end-users. The value the project delivers is not merely in making works available online, but in the open access terms under which the works are available. Therefore understanding Intellectual Property considerations is fundamental in achieving this objective.

The purpose of this summary is to outline Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) factors that need to be considered in relation to the scanning and online display of library biodiversity collections of BHL-Europe project partners. Scanning copyright works and making them publicly available without due consideration of rights ownership and clearance presents serious risks.

Adherence to BHL-Europe’s Intellectual Property principles and requirements is essential to the success and sustainability of the project. All BHL-Europe partners must therefore understand the following:

  • BHL-Europe partners are responsible for providing content and data to the project that does not infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties.

  • The activities of BHL-Europe cross many legal jurisdictions in terms of the partners involved, origin of material to be scanned and applicable IPR legislation. It is therefore necessary for project partners to know the relevant legislation of their own country.

  • The project shares its data (and some content) with other projects, including BHL, EOL and Europeana. It is essential that project partners ensure that the works and data they make available to BHL-Europe are also licensed for sharing with each other and these other projects.

  • BHL-Europe partners must ensure that digital content provided to the project are licensed under Creative Commons open access terms as stipulated in the project’s Description of Work to the European Commission.

  • Neither the project BHL-Europe nor the data/content providers will seek to assert any intellectual property rights over digital copies of public domain original work. Original public domain material can be reused or exploited by anyone who wishes to use it including educational, non-commercial, and commercial users.

  • The use of technical protection measures such as visible digital watermarking or copy prevention are not compatible with the Open Access principles of BHL-Europe. Such enforcement technologies cannot respect or acknowledge the subtle and subjective concepts of fair dealing or fair use or other exceptions to the monopoly rights copyright confers.

  • Neither data nor content provided to BHL-Europe may be restricted by subscription fees or other access controls that require payment.

New BHL-Europe partners will be required to sign a memorandum of understanding which further details the terms upon which content and data are made available to the project. BHL-Europe will provide project partners with an IPR best practice guide that includes further information about IPR risk management, rights clearance, due diligence and Creative Commons licensing.