“I should like you to see them some time”. An empirical study of copyright clearance costs in the digitisation of Edwin Morgan’s scrapbooks

Publication Date14 May 2018
AuthorVictoria Stobo,Kerry Patterson,Kristofer Erickson,Ronan Deazley
SubjectLibrary & information science,Records management & preservation,Document management,Classification & cataloguing,Information behaviour & retrieval,Collection building & management,Scholarly communications/publishing,Information & knowledge management,Information management & governance,Information management,Information & communications technology,Internet
I should like you to see them
some time
An empirical study of copyright clearance costs
in the digitisation of Edwin Morgans
Victoria Stobo and Kerry Patterson
CREATe, School of Law, College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow,
Glasgow, UK
Kristofer Erickson
School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, and
Ronan Deazley
Belfast School of Law, Queens University, Belfast, UK
Purpose The inability of cultural institutions to make available digital reproductions of collected
material highlights a shortcoming with the existing copyright framework in a number of national
jurisdictions. Overlapping efforts to remedy the situation were recently undertaken in the form of EU
Directive 2012/28/EU, the Orphan Worksdirective, and a new licensing scheme introduced by the UK
Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). The purpose of this paper is to empirically evaluate both the EU and
UK policy approaches, drawing on data collected during a live rights clearance simulation.
Design/methodology/approach The authorsattempted to clear rights ina sample of 432 items contained
in the mixed-mediaEdwin Morgan Scrapbookscollection held bythe University of Glasgow Library.Data were
collected on the resource costs incurredat each stage of the rights clearance process, from initial auditof the
collection, through to compliance with diligent search requirements under EU Directive 2012/28/EU and the
UKIPO licensing procedures.
Findings Comparing results against the two current policy options for the use of orphan works, the
authors find that the UKIPO licensing scheme offers a moderate degree of legal certainty but also the highest
cost to institutions (the cost of diligent search in addition to licence fees). The EU exception to copyright
provides less legal certainty in the case of rightsholder re-emergence, but also retains high diligent search
costs. Both policy options may be suitable for institutions wishing to make use of a small number of high-risk
works, but neither approach is currently suitable for mass digitisation.
Research limitations/implications This rights clearance exercise is focussed on a single
case study with unique properties (with a high proportion of partial works embedded in a work of
bricolage). Consequently, the results obtained in this study reflect differences from simulation studies
on other types of orphan works. However, by adopting similar methodological and reporting standards to
previous empirical studies, the authors can compare rights clearance costs between collections of
different works.
Originality/value This study is the first to empirically assess the 2014 UK orphan works licensing scheme
from an institutional perspective. The authors hope that it will contribute to an understanding of how policy
could more effectively assist libraries and archives in their digitisation efforts.
Keywords Digital libraries, Libraries, Special libraries, Case studies, Copyright, Legislation,
Documentation, Digital communications, Print media
Paper type Research paper
Journal of Documentation
Vol. 74 No. 3, 2018
pp. 641-667
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/JD-04-2017-0061
Received 21 April 2017
Revised 31 October 2017
Accepted 31 October 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers whose suggestions improved this paper,
and the numerous MSc Information Management and Preservation students, at the University of
Glasgow, whose interactions with the scrapbooks informed the outcomes of this project.
of Edwin
1. Introduction
On 7th of June 1953, Scottish Poet Edwin Morgan wrote to his literary agent with
enthusiasm about an unusual creative project which he had underway. Morgans agent had
sent him a letter only days before, expressing hope that the poet might be planning some
work on a larger scalecompared to his previously published poems (Christy and
Moore, 1953). Morgan had indeed been working on a major project, however owing to its
unusual scope and breadth, it would turn out to be impossible to publish in his lifetime.
The work consisted of a series of large and weighty scrapbooks in which the poet collected
and annotated tens of thousands of newspaper clippings, photographs and ephemera
cataloguing topics which attracted the public imagination or his personal interest.
Reflecting on the project, Morgan described the books as partly documentary/historical,
partly aesthetic, partly satirical and partly personal [] a Whitmanian reflecting glass of
the world [as] refracted through one personality(Morgan, 1953).
Morgan realised that dissemination of the scrapbooks would face challenges, although
he expressed a strong desire to share them with the public. He wrote to his agent that the
practical obstacles to any kind of reproduction or publication are naturally enormous,while
nevertheless enjoining that he should like you to see them sometime(Morgan, 1953). The poet
continued work on his scrapbooks project, which grew in size to cover 16 volumes. There is no
recorded response to this letter in Morgans papers, supporting the conclusion that the project
was shelved, although Morgan did revisit the idea 30 years later. In 1988, with his reputation
firmly established, the response from his publisher Carcanet remained that, the project looks
absolutely fascinating. It also looks hugely expensive(Schmidt, 1988).
The costs which made publication of the scrapbooks prohibitive in 1953 and later in 1988
were twofold. First, the technical means of capturing and reproducing the 3,600 pages
contained in the collected volumes grossly exceeded the financial return expected from a
print run. Even sacrificing the integrity of the collection to publish a shorter, condensed
version would have proven cost-prohibitive from a technical point of view. Morgan
expressed his preference that any republication be in full colour, whilst the quantity of fine
detail contained on each page demanded a large format. Second, just as important as the
technical costs of reproduction were the copyright issues implied in any wider publication of
the works. This was because the scrapbooks nearly exclusively contained text and images
originating from contempor ary third-party published so urces. With thousands of
newspaper clippings, photographs and other works across the scrapbooks, this would
have presented an insurmountable task to any commercial or non-commercial reproduction
of the scrapbooks.
The advent of digital technology has provided a potential solution to the first set of costs
related to technical reproduction. Cost-savings effects resulting from digitisation have been
observed across a range of media and cultural industries. The proliferation of software tools
has made it possible for a greater number of people to capture, manipulate and disseminate
high-quality digital copies (Hesmondhalgh, 2007; Waldfogel, 2011, 2015). In book
publishing, digital networking and typesetting software have enabled print-on-demand
business models, disintermediating the role of traditional publishers in the value chain
(Waldfogel and Reimers, 2015). The cost of digitally capturing and archiving printed
material has also declined dramatically, with impacts on libraries, archives and knowledge
institutions (Gadd et al., 2003; Nelson and Irwin, 2014). internet search company Google
initiated a digitisation project in 2004 which sought to digitise some 20 million books at an
estimated cost of US$30 per book (Samuelson, 2009). Many libraries and archives in Europe,
including the Bibiotheque Nationale de France and British Library (BL) are pursuing similar
efforts to digitally archive and share their collections (Delorme, 2011).
However, a majorimpediment to mass digitisation of culturalworks has been and remains
the law of copyright. While technical costs related to digitisation have declined, the costs

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