Intellectual Property Rights for Digital Preservation

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


While a number of legal issues colour contemporary approaches to, and practices of, digital preservation, it is arguable that intellectual property law, represented principally by copyright and its related rights, has been by far the most dominant, and often intractable, influence. It is thus essential for those engaging in digital preservation to understand the letter of the law as it applies to digital preservation, but equally important to be able to identify and implement practical and pragmatic strategies for handling legal risks relating to intellectual property rights in the pursuit of preservation objectives.

Intellectual property rights have a long and storied history, but that history, and contemporary UK law, reflect a set of interests which are rarely entirely consonant with, and often inimicable to, effective preservation of works for future research and reuse. Thus the final key requirement for those engaging in digital preservation is the ability to advance a coherent and cogent message to rights holders, policymakers and the public with regard to the relationship between intellectual property law and digital preservation. That is, that it is in the long-term interests of all stakeholders that modern intellectual property law permits both the implementation of effective and efficient mechanisms of digital preservation, and the widest possible re-use of the digital works preserved.

This report is aimed primarily at depositors, archivists and researchers/re-users of digital works, but will provide a concise introduction to the subject matter for policymakers and the general public.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDigital Preservation Coalition
Number of pages49
ISBN (Print)2048-7916
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2012


  • intellectual property
  • copyright
  • preservation
  • archiving
  • digital works
  • policy


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