This episode provides an overview of copyright and other legal considerations surrounding software preservation, sharing and reuse. Guests explore the “square peg, round hole” relationship between software and copyright; and examine differences in intellectual property regimes between the United Kingdom and the United States including copyright, fair use, fair dealing and technological protection exemptions for software preservation.

Watch Webinar:
Time & Date:

July 11, 2018 // 8am PST – 10am CST – 4pm BST/CET


   + Kendra Albert (Harvard University)

   + Andrew Charlesworth (University of Bristol)

   + Brandon Butler (University of Virginia)


   + Jess Whyte (University of Toronto)

   + Paula Jabloner (Computer History Museum)

   + Jessica Meyerson (Educopia Institute)

Discussion Questions:

   + What are your methods for understanding the current legal and policy landscape surrounding sharing and reuse of software?

   + Can you all provide attendees with a brief overview of copyright and software/software curation in UK and US contexts?

   + What are your thoughts on various approaches for securing permissions directly from software publishers? (e.g. bespoke or targeted efforts)

   + How does the risk assessment for preservation vary from the risk assessment for access (e.g., emulation, critical code studies)

   + How could a practitioner build risk assessment into their workflows?

   + What are some strategies for lowering risk?

Supplementary Resources:

Websites & Blogs

United States Legal Context:

   + Albert, Kendra. (2016). The Angry Birds in the Coal Mine . RIT MAGIC Invited Speaker Series, March 3rd, 2016:

   + Intellectual Property Rights Issues for Software Emulation: An Interview with Euan Cochrane, Zach Vowell, and Jessica Meyerson, by Morgan McKeehan, The Signal, January 22, 2016

   + The United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 1201 Rulemaking  (exemption to break technological protection measures in the service of software preservation)

     – – the U.S. Copyright Office homepage for the 1201 process for 2018

     – Software Preservation Network/Library Copyright Alliance PetitionComments, and Reply Comments(see Class 9) in support of an exemption for software preservation

     – Software Preservation Network 1201 Additional Comments in support of Society of American Archivists “all lawful uses” proposal.

   + Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation: Association for Research Libraries project landing page

   + The Copyright Permissions Culture in Software Preservation and Its Implications for the Cultural Record—Best Practices Phase 1 Report

   + How Is an App Like a Player Piano? And Does That Help the Fair Use Case for Software Preservation?—Brandon Butler, The Taper blog

   + What’s Eating Software—Brandon Butler, The Taper blog

   + Digital Preservation and Copyright, by Peter Hirtle

Canadian Legal Context:

   + Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) Statutory Review of the Copyright Act:,

   + Link to submitted brief requesting an exception for circumventing technical protection measures (currently being translated to French):

Articles & Reports

United Kingdom Legal Context:

   + Charlesworth, Andrew. (2012) Intellectual Property Rights for Digital Preservation: DPC Technology Watch Report 12-02 2012,

   + Kemper, Jakko; Kolkman, Daan. (2018) Transparent to whom? No algorithmic accountability without a critical audience, Information, Communication & Society, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2018.1477967

   + Rowland, D., Kohl, U. & Charlesworth, A. (2016) Information Technology Law. 1 Aug 2016 5th ed. Abingdon: Routledge.

   + Schafer, Burkhard; Edwards, Lilian. (2017). ‘“I spy, with my little sensor”: Fair data handling practices for robots between privacy, copyright and security’, Connection science, Vol 29, pp 200-209

   + Schafer, Burkhard; Komuves, David; Zatarain, Jesus Niebla. Diver, Laurence. (2015).  ‘A fourth law of robotics?: Copyright and the law and ethics of machine co-production’, Artificial Intelligence and Law, Vol 23, pp 217-240

   + Schafer, Burkhard. (2015). ‘D-waste: Data disposal as challenge for waste management in the Internet of Things’, International Review for Information Ethics, Vol 22, pp 100-106

United States Legal Context:

   + Whitt, Richard S. (2017).  ‘Through a Glass, Darkly’ — Technical, Policy, and Financial Actions to Avert the Coming Digital Dark Ages. Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal, Vol. 33, No. 2, 2016. Available at SSRN: