Can or should war diaries be transcribed?

Discuss war diaries or aything relating to mentions of the Border Regiment from other regimental diaries.

Are WWI war diaries legally allowed to be transcribed and shown in a public space?

YES
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NO
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DON'T KNOW
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Total votes : 2

Re: Can or should war diaries be transcribed?

Postby plbramham » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:50 pm

IanT wrote:Paul, regarding your comment about genealogy companies, are they not (just) claiming copyright of the images or transcriptions they have made & not copyright of the original documents?
Ian

Good point, yes they could claim copyright of a transcription they had created in "their style" - layout, font etc, which would effectively be a new document. If this is the case their wording really ought to be more specific what it is that they are claiming copyright of ( e.g. layout copyright ***** 2012) for clarification. Otherwise the wording can make it sound like they hold copyright of the content which scares people off. Paul
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Re: Can or should war diaries be transcribed?

Postby kerchi » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:47 pm

Paul,

A lot of this makes perfect sense but I can see how convoluted this can become when you look at the many different angles. The intricacies of the legalities involved seem to complicate themselves but overall what you say does make perfect sense from a straightforward viewpoint, but things in general when concerning copyright are never that simple, at least they never appear to be as black and white as you'd like, just more of those nasty grey areas creeping in.

plbramham wrote:Your other point, you are right; the scan of a war diary is an image so is subject to copyright. (Interesting question - did the person scanning the image actually have the right to copy it? i.e. were they breaching copyright by making the scan?) If the scan were to be over 90 years old (impossible) then that image would be out of copyright.


That is interesting because there have been scans of war diaries available at the NA for quite a few years now (I remember ordering some scans about 6 years ago) and if we consider the 90 year rule then war diaries, certainly from 1916-1918, were still in copyright and the person scanning them were violating that copyright unless they were given express permission to do so. As it was the NA I am sure they had permission.

plbramham wrote:The museum, like the people with photograph collections, cannot claim that they own the copyright of war diaries (well they can claim it, but they don’t). Organisations cannot put themselves above the law simply by putting a copyright stamp on a photo or document. However it is sufficient to put most people off using them. If the image/ document is over 90 years old, (“published “as explained in my previous post) then it is out of copyright, no matter what claim anyone puts on it.


I think the Museum were just trying to scare me off when they (semi-jokingly, but with a hint seriousness) mentioned I could be fined several times over for transcribing their 11th Battalion war diary a few years ago, that's why I stopped transcribing. I felt a little pressured at the time.

I still firmly believe that public domain information should always be freely available to anyone who wishes to see it and shouldn't have to pay a fee for the priveledge, which is why I started the transcribing project a long time ago. It is, at times, a really boring and repetitive job though :eeek:

plbramham wrote:
Transcribing the contents cannot be in breach of the copyright – we are lucky in that WW1 diaries are now out of the 90 years rule.


This is good to know so if I were to continue transcribing the war diaries for the forum or wiki no one would be able to say no you are in breach of copyright, right? Not that I am going to because I have too much on at the moment.

plbramham wrote:There is an interesting way round a copyright image. Say you photographed an image that would be a direct copy so you would be in breach. However, if you photographed someone holding the photograph, even if you just included their hand on the picture, then the original image would form part of your “new image” so you are not in breach of copyright. Crafty eh?


This is crafty but interesting to know these little tricks of which this particular one I had no clue about.
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Can or should war diaries be transcribed?

Postby plbramham » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:29 pm

kerchi wrote:I think the Museum were just trying to scare me off when they (semi-jokingly, but with a hint seriousness) mentioned I could be fined several times over for transcribing their 11th Battalion war diary a few years ago, that's why I stopped transcribing. I felt a little pressured at the time.


The museum seem to really have difficulties with legal terminology, don't they?
You can only be "fined" when you are prosecuted for a criminal offence .
As copyright is a civil offence, they would have to sue you for damages ( which would cost them money to bring an action unless they won and were awarded costs from you) . As you weren't doing it for profit the case would probably be thrown ( or laughed) out of court! Paul
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Re: Can or should war diaries be transcribed?

Postby kerchi » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:15 pm

At least the war diaries I have on the wiki so far are relatively safe ;-)

Knowing that they are public domain because they are over 90 years old and transcribing (not uploading scanned images) either on the wiki or forum is fine. It is another source of information people will be able to search through and, with any luck, find something of use to them, which makes the effort worthwhile :-)

I guess you only have to look on other websites that have transcribed war diaries to know that this is not an isolated case. People really want to be able to share this important public information to everyone without cost and that, to me, is a step in the right direction.
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Can or should war diaries be transcribed?

Postby mrdeacon » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:13 pm

I have asked Paul Reed about this issue and this was his reply.

Hi Michael,

War Diaries are Crown Copyright expired. While images of the diaries can be subjected to copyright if provided by TNA, the actual transcribed contents of a diary are Crown Copyright expired so are out of copyright. The source does have to be acknowledged, however.

The issue of Crown Copyright expired is explained somewhere on TNA's website.

Hope that helps?

Best wishes,

Paul


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