Monday, 27 January 2014

Copyright chill

The lead article in the latest Mocavo news, by Michael J. Leclerc, is Copyright and the Oral Interview. It relates to recording interviews with relatives for family history purposes.
His advice, qualified as "the important thing," is "to ask every subject to sign a form giving you permission to use the recording any way you like."
I'm not sure if Mr Leclerc is a lawyer or if not where he got his legal advice. There are no references. Is this advice applicable just for the US?
I've been interviewed a few times for broadcast and only recall one occasion on which I was asked to sign a release. What's your experience?
Thanks to Marnie Mccall for the tip.


Peter Munro said...

This is recommended practice in Scotland, too. I participated in the Scottish Borders Memory Bank,, as a volunteer as well as being the project manager for the website development. All the contributors signed release forms, whether for oral, written or photographic contributions.

Betty Flaherty said...

Would be interested in seeing the format for such a document to use when interviewing.

Barbara T. said...

I was involved with filmed interviews for a documentary, "A Struggle to Remember: Fighting for our Families", being produced by the Workers Heritage Centre here in Ottawa. Our interviewees had to sign waivers to allow use of their contributions. I suppose audio is no different than film but it's not something I would have thought of when doing family related interviews.

Judy Webster said...

The 'oral history' subject within the Graduate Diploma in Local and Applied History (University of New England, NSW, Australia) has always emphasised the need for a signed release. I even used one when I interviewed my parents, because I knew that one day I would want to publish transcriptions of their stories.

Anonymous said...

I can understand consent when an outsider is gaining information but family? They used to write letters home which we use and yet they only wrote to other members of the family, not thinking it would go further. Is it not stretching it too far when it is family for family? What do we now do with the oral history we have gathered over the years without written consent and the person has now passed?

Peter Munro said...

Anonymous makes a good point. The writer of letters holds the copyright and it may have passed to their heirs.
Most families, I suspect, would not object, however when I was helping an old man write his memoirs, several members of his family wrote to me and to him threatening legal action if we published any part of any letters to him without their express permission. Faced with that threat, he decided to omit the letters - a pity because they were interesting and revealing.