Introduction

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.

Still or clip above from ‘A Girl Like I’, video by Catherine Grant, 2016. Watch video in full here, and read about it here.

Fair Dealing conference

The Fair Dealing conference on using still and moving images in academic research took place at Birkbeck on 24th November 2017. Audio records of each speaker’s contribution, and each panel discussion, are below (and can be downloaded). Audio recording and photography by Bartek Dziadosz.

Panel 1: The Concept of Copyright in Art, moderated by Professor Fiona Macmillan

Panel 2: What is Fair? moderated by Richard Taylor

Panel 3: Working with Fair Dealing, moderated by Dr Lily Ford

Below is some of the material shown by panellists in their presentations.

Robert Rauschenberg ‘Erased De Kooning Drawing’ 1953 (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). Image nominated by panellist Dr Grischka Petri, who commends the Rauschenberg Foundation’s fair use policy.

The Phantom Carriage: A Revaluation video essay by panellist John Gibbs and Douglas Pye. Read more here.

Macaque Selfie. Self-portrait by the depicted Macaca nigra female (who photographed herself with photographer David Slater’s camera). The copyright of the image was contested by Wikimedia on grounds of authorship, and Slater had to pursue lengthy court cases to assert his rights (see here for more information). Reproduced here with the permission of David Slater. Image nominated by panellist Sergio Angelini.
Still from episode 3 of ‘The Game is On!’ directed by Ronan Deazley and Bartolomeo Meletti, an animated webseries educating viewers about copyright law and creativity.

A Girl Like I, video by panellist Catherine Grant (2016). Read about it here.

Untitled (Cowboy) Setup, photograph by Mike Stimpson, 2009. This set-up shot shows how Flickr user Balakov made a further intervention on the Marlboro man image rephotographed by Richard Prince in 1989. Image nominated by panellist Henrique Carvalho. Available from Flickr.

Header image: Untitled (Cowboy), photograph by Richard Prince, 1989. Richard Prince famously rephotographed Sam Abell’s images for Marlboro to make his own artworks. Prints from the Untitled (Cowboy) series have sold for over $3m.

Film and fair dealing workshop

This event on film and fair dealing took place at Birkbeck on Monday 6th November, 2017. Essay filmmaker Charlie Lyne explained the process of using  a fair dealing defence to exhibit his films, with particular reference to ‘Missing Episode’ screened on BBC2’s Performance Live slot in October 2017.  Catherine Grant, Birkbeck’s new professor of digital media and screen studies, responded to Charlie’s talk and outlined her own approach to audiovisual research and film essay. A Q&A followed.

Listen to the talks and discussion below. Photos and sound recording by Amy Cheng and Sam McCoy.

Still from Fear Itself (dir. Charlie Lyne, 2015). Available to watch on BBC IPlayer.
Still from ‘A Girl Like I’, video by Catherine Grant, 2016. Watch video here, and read more here.
Still from Beyond Clueless (dir: Charlie Lyne, 2014). Available to watch on Netflix or to rent/buy here.

Art history and fair dealing

Policy into Practice: Implementing Fair Dealing for image copyright at British Art Studies

British Art Studies is one of the few completely open access journals in the field of art history, providing a forum for the growing debate about digital scholarship, publication and copyright. This discussion between the editors will cover how and why they have implemented their Fair Dealing policy with examples of their experiences putting policy into practice. It will be facilitated by Dr Leslie Topp, Head of History of Art at Birkbeck. Questions and queries from the audience are encouraged, and discussion will continue over drinks afterwards.

Wednesday 22nd November, 3-4.30pm, Paul Mellon Centre for the Study of British Art, 16 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JA. Free, book here.

British Art Studies, some contents from issue 5 (Spring 2017).

Header image: John Constable, Cloud Study, 1821. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

Seeing ‘Ways of Seeing’

Ways of Seeing (BBC, 1972) was a groundbreaking television series introducing a broad audience to new ways of understanding art and society. It has been used ever since in arts teaching both in its original screen form and in the form of the eponymous book published after the series aired. The four episodes that constitute the series have never been released on VHS or DVD, with academics relying on recordings from TV reruns, or low quality clips on video streaming platforms, to share with students.

On Friday November 3rd, 2017, we screened the four episodes of Ways of Seeing from the best available source (the BBC’s Digi Beta tapes) at Birkbeck Cinema, supported by BIMI and AICA-UK. Artist Shona Illingworth introduced the series and the screening was followed by a discussion of the series with Shona, director Mike Dibb and producer and historian of television John Wyver.

Listen to the discussion by clicking the video below. Photos and sound recording by Bartek Dziadosz.