NMDC supports change to "2039 rule" 15/12/2014
NMDC has responded to the recent Government consultation on their proposals to alter the term of copyright in unpublished works - a legislative change which could affect thousands of works in UK museum collections such as letters, diaries and notebooks. At present, the so-called "2039 rule" means that thousands of unpublished works in museum collections remain in copyright long after the term of copyright had they been published would have ended. If a work remains in copyright, then it's use, including display, needs to be approved by the copyright holders, and if a work is very old then it can be very difficult to locate rights holders. It also means there are some peculiarities - copyright may have expired in an artist's paintings but not their letters.
NMDC, in a response counter-signed by the Association of Independent Museums and the Museums Association, supports the proposals to alter the term of copyright in unpublished works, including sound recordings, to be the same as that in published works. Having the same terms will lead to less confusion, and open up thousands of works for greater public use, including those related to the centenary of the First World War.
The consultation response can be read here.