The FAIR COOKING FOR COPYRIGHT campaign raises extremely important issues for the preservation and sharing of cultural heritage in an engaging and democratic way typical of libraries. The FAIR campaign points out the treasure trove of cultural heritage contained in unpublished works held by Australia’s collecting institutions and community organisations can’t be legally shared online.Under Australian law, copyright in unpublished works never expires. This poses major problems for how we can learn from the past and create new knowledge for the future. The COOKING FOR COPYRIGHT campaign seeks to raise awareness of these problems to support copyright law reform that will make it possible to share these types of works.
That’s not to say that there are no copyright issues with works born digital or created today. Works communicated on the internet are protected by copyright for the duration of the term given them under copyright law in the country of publication. Creators of those works enjoy all the exclusive rights given to them by copyright law. Some creators intend to reserve all of those rights. And that’s fine. They might indicate that by using the well-known © symbol. Or they might say nothing. Either way, their work is generally protected. If others want to share or re-use that work they need to ask for permission in advance.
Does everybody on the internet want to reserve all rights in their works? It’s clear they don’t. The 2014 Creative Commons STATE OF THE COMMONS report reveals that there are 882 million Creative Commons works on the internet, free to the public to reuse! Many more authors don’t mind if people reuse their works, but unless they explicitly say so, users have to assume that ‘all rights are reserved’. By using an explicit Creative Commons licence, creators can tell users that they are happy for their work to be reused (on certain conditions).