GDPR and Copyright Workshop Event Delights Region

Tania Rowlett & Rob Melocha, University of Leicester

Tania Rowlett and Rob Melocha report on an active and engaging workshop, hosted at Leicester, aimed at equipping library staff to cope with the forthcoming data protection legislative changes.

On Friday 2nd February the University of Leicester hosted a morning event on behalf of the newly constituted Mercian Copyright Group.  Around 40 people from 18 different HEIs attended the session, run by Naomi Korn. Naomi runs Naomi Korn Copyright Consultancy Ltd, and specialises in interactive, non-power-point training workshops. As the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) are due to come into force in May 2018, this event aimed to give an overview of the potential impact and issues which universities need to practically consider. Moreover, it included discussions focussing on copyright matters of importance to all realms of academia. 

The 3-hour event started with a group analysis and discussion of the copyright issues of a real-life scenario posed by Naomi relating to publishing old archival material.  Key points raised were:

  • Keep good records of rights in (what rights you or others hold when you ingest material into an archive) and rights out (what use you permit others to make of the works).
  • Make sure you do your due diligence – record what enquiries you made to ascertain whether a rights holder exists and whether they are contactable.
  • Consider whether there are applicable UK laws which would permit what you want to do
  • Consider the feasibility and benefits of obtaining an Orphan Works Licence.
  • Manage risk – make educated decision as to whether to use or allow use of third party material, based on your due diligence, your intended audience (web/print run) and your corporation’s risk appetite.
  • Educate your colleagues about mitigating risk and embed good practice in your institution that balances compliance, whilst being pragmatic and proportionate and ethical.
  • Weigh up Risk v Cost v Benefit.

Naomi then went on to give an overview on the UK Scholarly Communications Licence (UKSCL) covering co-author opt in requirements, potential academic liability and publishers’ requirements for waivers.

The second half of the session focussed on the impact of the GDPR data protection legislation, which aims to provide greater transparency for people as to how their data is used by organisations, as well as enhancing their rights relating to their personal data. Individuals (known as data subjects under the legislation) will be able to ask for their data to be removed, commonly referred to as the right to be forgotten. Additionally, organisations will no longer be able to charge for data subject access requests (DSAR), as they were under the current DPA 1998. As Naomi explained, this means organisations face a likely potential increase in the number of legitimate and ‘vexatious’ requests they will need to handle.

The grounds for processing personal data were discussed, with the requirement for gaining consent being a key issue. Under GDPR, people will be required to opt in with full knowledge of what they are consenting to, rather than opt out, which will impact on how readily organisations can market to them. However, Naomi stated some rare legislative exemptions for organisations from having to meet one of the grounds for processing, such as national security and fraud, exist. Other implications for institutions are the increased fine limit to ~£18m (€20m) for a breach of the regulations, and the power given to the supervising authorities (the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK) to audit organisations. This all means institutions will need to revisit their contracts with external companies who may process institutional data, for example library management system and reading list providers, to ensure they are going to be GDPR compliant. 

The session finished with small groups carrying out an information assurance audit for a section of data they held, which participants seemed to find extremely useful in assessing their potential compliance with the regulations.

Staff in Mercian Collaboration member organisations, with an interest in copyright and related areas, are warmly invited to join the Mercian Copyright Group as representation for all libraries is still developing. Contact the MCG Chair, Yvonne Budden at Warwick, or the Mercian Development Officer, for more details.