Intellectual Property and Copyright Matters
The value of the CCL for the scholarly community depends upon contributions by that community. Together, by contributing transcriptions, translations, annotations, bibliography, as well as comments, information, and corrections, we can create the corpus of materials that will help us all understand better the textual traditions, applications, influences, sources, ideologies, extent, and changes in Carolingian canon law and related materials. The CCL will do all in its power to assist and facilitate such contributions, in addition to supplying the software to allow researchers to search, collate, collect, and export its materials.
Several considerations arise in this vision of international and ongoing collaboration amongst scholars who may not be known to each other. First, what protections does the CCL offer regarding the intellectual property rights of contributors? Second, what protections does the CCL offer for control of the quality of the contributed materials? Third, what permissions can researchers presume they have for using, altering, compiling, and creating editions from the contributions of others?
Intellectual Property Rights of Contributors
The CCL acknowledges and publishes the names of all contributors, attaching the name to each specific transcription, translation, annotation, comment, etc. Any visitor to the site will be able to determine readily the identity of the transcriber or contributor of any CCL content. Recognising that transcribing a manuscript or portion thereof requires considerable skill in Latin, paleography, codicology, and understanding of the text, the CCL hopes that publication of transcriptions, even those not yet synthesised into a critical edition, will merit recognition within the profession and larger domains of academe.
The CCL has a Creative Commons license of the “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike” type. This means that there can be no commercial use of CCL materials (including contributions), although scholarly publications using CCL content are, of course, permitted. It also means that attribution of materials to their creators is required, all the way through any sequence of re-use, revision, adaptation, integration into editions, citation in studies, and so forth. Creative Commons licenses have been developed with the understanding that digital materials are often altered, “mashed”, reconfigured, and integrated into other materials or formats. Therefore, the license terms (“share alike”) also require that anyone who changes the form of the original contribution should be acknowledged, along with the original creator. This should work well for the students and researchers using the CCL. For example, an editor of a particular canon law collection could use all the transcriptions of the manuscripts needed for the edition, giving credit to each transcriber, and also giving credit to scholars who contributed corrections or information regarding the text, while still producing his or her own unique edition, shaped by his or her view of textual relations and editorial theory.
Although intellectual property rights are retained by the scholar who creates a transcription or contribution, the CCL will keep a copy of all contributed materials. In order to prevent an unfortunate situation in which researchers who have collected contributed data suddenly find such data no longer available, contributors are asked to accept the following agreement:
The CCL will provide workspace for users to save their work. Users can elect at any time to export or download transcriptions. In exchange for this workspace, and more importantly, in order to facilitate the manuscript searching application, the CCL will retain a copy of all transcriptions. In order to keep all users informed of what the CCL will do with all transcription data, each user will be asked to accept an End User License Agreement that includes the following statement:
As a contributor to the CCL, you give permission to the CCL to retain a copy of your transcription on its server. With the exception described in the following paragraph, you give permission to the CCL to use your work in its indexing for searches and for public display. When search results are displayed, your username, usually a valid email address, will be cited in the transcription used in the search, but no other personal data you have given to the CCL will ever be displayed. All contributed transcriptions will be encoded, maintained, and preserved according to CCL protocols.
Should you wish to keep your transcriptions available only to a set of selected collaborators or completely hidden from public view, the CCL will make provisions for such limited display in a designated, password-protected workspace, and will not include such transcriptions in its search engine. Such transcriptions cannot be collated with the CCL collation software, and the CCL has no responsibility to encode or otherwise support, maintain, or preserve the transcriptions in the event of file corruption or loss.
All contributed transcriptions may be corrected or otherwise appropriately altered by other researchers. Any and all such alterations or corrections to transcription files will be recorded in the CCL version-control software, as well as being clearly noted and publicised on the CCL site, with suitable acknowledgements to the individuals making such changes or corrections.
The CCL will host an easily-used forum for public discussion of transcriptions, corrections, and information regarding manuscripts and other CCL content, so that any and all researchers can clarify their rationales or elucidate pertinent information. Such discussion may be moderated by the CCL Advisory Board.
Although the CCL does not release personal information, other than an email address for contact, the Codicological Questionnaire submitted with each transcription does ask for information about the transcriber’s level of experience working with such materials. This information will be attached to the transcription, so that researchers can begin to assess the quality of the transcription. Caveat emptor, but we trust that those using the CCL will conscientiously report corrections to be made to transcriptions, or at least indicate when a transcription proves problematic, and how. Materials created by the CCL team are verified and proofread, often by three people, but as the data increases in quantity and transcriptions are contributed of manuscripts to which the CCL has no simple access, it will not be possible to verify the accuracy of all transcriptions placed on the site. The CCL reserves the right to remove from the site any transcription which appears to be deeply flawed or even inconveniently inaccurate.
Using CCL materials
Students and researchers are welcome to collect, compile, copy, and export any CCL materials; indeed, the CCL will shortly be hosting password-protected workspaces where individuals can perform any of those tasks, as well as inviting other scholars to enter or view those workspaces. Our purpose is to support investigation of these texts, which are too great in number and too rarely available in print to have allowed such research. We are especially interested in supporting various editorial ventures, and we hope that any number of editorial experiments and approaches will be tried using the materials the CCL delivers, and we place no restrictions or conditions upon any studies or editions, other than the requirements for proper acknowledgement of those who contributed the materials used in such studies or editions, as described in the paragraph above (“Intellectual Property Rights of Contributors”).
All software on the CCL is open-source, and available for appropriation and use in accord with terms of their licences. Should the CCL provide any software with special conditions or restrictions upon its use, or with special provisions for its ownership or transmission, that software will be clearly denoted on the site, and a copy of the terms of its use posted.
Please do not hesitate to contact us, should you have any questions about access, sources, copyright, or intellectual property rights for materials on the CCL site.
The Carolingian Canon Law Project and all contributions made to it are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License