The Fair Dealing programme at Birkbeck was a month-long series of events on copyright and fair dealing as it affects academics and practitioners working with the still and moving image, in November 2017. Scroll down to see details, including photos and downloadable audio records of most of the events.
Thinking and writing about images is innate to academic practice in the humanities and beyond, as is disseminating this criticism and analysis as a research output. But academics and practitioners commenting on visual material often find themselves in a difficult or expensive situation when it comes to reproducing the images themselves. Reproduction rights and license fees can be prohibitive to publication or exhibition. While amendments to the Copyright Act in 2014 both expanded and introduced new scope for ‘fair dealing’ copyrighted material without permission, there are as yet very few precedents to show how such defences are being enforced. This leads to a climate of uncertainty for authors, both of books and of audiovisual works, who must often operate in this grey area of copyright law in order to make their research public.
By bringing together academics, practitioners and stakeholders this conference aimed to facilitate frank discussion and clear pathways for future research practice and dissemination in the humanities. The issues raised have an impact on any researcher working with material created by third parties, from a PhD student seeking to publish an article containing artworks or diagrams, to a lecturer using a film excerpt in a presentation, to an academic or filmmaker conducting a critical reading of another work. In this digital age, when both materials and platforms are easy to access, what is the correct approach to reproducing material responsibly?
This programme offered insights, expertise and a forum for discussion, aiming not only to establish best practice for PhD students and ECRs, but to clarify on a more conceptual level the virtues and pitfalls of fair dealing exceptions.