Help the Campaign to provide greater access to important historical works through copyright law reform.
Everyone who cares about our history, everyone who cares about telling our collective story without restrictions, please read on.
At the moment, display cases in the National Library of Scotland, the Imperial War Museum, and the University of Leeds sit empty. They should contain letters from the First World War; but because of current UK copyright laws these letters cannot be displayed.
This is because certain unpublished works are in copyright until the end of 2039, regardless how old the work is. So even a letter written in 1810, containing notes on local churches, or a counter for rheumatism, could still be in copyright, so we couldn’t show it to you on this blog.
The Free Our History campaign wants ‘the 2039 rule’ for unpublished documents to be reduced to the author’s lifetime plus 70 years.
Provision for this change already exists in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA), which has already been passed by Parliament. Yet this change is still not on the statute books.
We ask you all to support this Campaign by signing the petition at www.cilip.org.uk/freeourhistory and use #catch2039 on Twitter to spread the word.