Last month, staff from the Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS) and Office of the General Counsel (OGC) met in Boston with WGBH Media Library and Archives staff and counsel from WGBH Business and Legal Affairs, as well as Representatives from the Cyberlaw Clinic and Fellows community at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society for a two-day brainstorming session to strategize regarding rights clearance for the American Archive for Public Broadcasting (AAPB). The AAPB Project Team anticipates that the outcomes of the meeting can serve as a model of how digital audiovisual archival rights can be managed.
Planning is at a very early stage, and will evolve based upon both technological and legal constraints. The early sketch is that AAPB would employ several interlocking layers of rights clearance: obtaining permission from originating stations and rights holders; identifying public domain materials; and using copyright law exemptions including fair use, the library and archive exemptions, and existing provisions unique to public television and to the Library.
The preliminary access model is that there would be three basic levels of access to the American Archive. First would be the open web, which would include public domain materials and materials for which the Archive (through WGBH and the Library) has obtained full permission. Some materials at this level would be downloadable; most would be streamed. The metadata for the entire AAPB would be in this level.
The second level would be an online virtual reading room, restricted to educational and scholarly uses. Users would be required to register on the AAPB website, and would be presented with terms and conditions, including the use restriction and the requirement that the user comply with copyright and other legal restrictions. This level would include materials that are permissioned for this reduced access. It would also include materials that the legal team has determined may prudently be presented for educational and scholarly purposes under fair use and other legal doctrines. For example, many historic news broadcasts may fall into this category. Materials on this level would be streaming only.
A third level would be materials that would be available only on Library and WGBH premises. This is the most restricted level, and materials would likely migrate to less restricted levels as they are analyzed and as permissions are obtained.
The AAPB Project Team is excited to begin implementing this model through rights clearances and developing the technological infrastructure over the next several months. We will continue to provide updates as the work moves forward.