Marco Villar, CC BY

Rebecca, Ula, and I are very excited to be presenting on reversion rights with Professor Caroline Ncube (University of Cape Town) and Brianna Schofield (Authors Alliance, US) on Thursday, 22 Oct 2020, 9:00 UTC (20:00 AEDT) at the Creative Commons Global Summit 2020. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Below is some information about each presenter and their talk. We’re confident it’s going to be a great session as we talk about these vital rights for authors, publishers, and the public.

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR REBECCA GIBLIN

Bio: Rebecca Giblin is an ARC Future Fellow at Melbourne Law School, leading interdisciplinary teams to build evidence about how intellectual property arrangements and other regulations actually work in practice. Her main research areas are copyright, creators’ rights, access to knowledge and the regulation of culture (particularly how the law impacts the creation and dissemination of creative works). She is Director of the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (IPRIA) and leads the ARC-funded Author’s Interest (authorsinterest.org) and eLending projects (elendingproject.org).

Abstract: The copyright discourse pits ‘creators’ against ‘users’, and demands we all pick one side or the other. That creates some weird teams – authors against libraries, artists against galleries, journalists against readers. But in fact, most people both want creators to be fairly paid and culture to be preserved and accessed. 

Reversion rights provide a way of doing both at the same time. If cultural institutions and the broader public joined forces with creator groups to secure more ambitious rights than the limited ones that currently exist, we have the opportunity to create new income streams for creators and better access for all. 

PROFESSOR CAROLINE NCUBE

Bio: Professor Caroline Ncube is the DST/NRF SARChI Research Chair in Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development in the Department of Commercial Law at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She holds PhD, LLM and LLB degrees. In addition to teaching and post-graduate research supervision at UCT, she also lectures on the Masters Degree in Intellectual Property (MIP) jointly offered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and Africa University (AU). She is  a member of various academic associations such as the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property (ATRIP),  the South African Association of Intellectual Property Law and Information Technology Law Teachers and Researchers (AIPLITL) and the Society of Law Teachers of Southern Africa (SLTSA).  She is affiliated with the University of Ottawa as an Associate Member, Centre for Law, Technology and Society.

Professor Ncube’s primary research focus is how Intellectual Property (IP) law and policy can be best calibrated to achieve national socio-economic goals in African states. These considerations centre on the promotion of innovation in prevalent African contexts, and most of this work is conducted with her collaborators within the Open African Innovation Research Network. Her publications to date have considered copyright and patent laws specifically in the light of access imperatives grounded in the constitutional protection of fundamental and socio-economic rights. For instance, she has recently worked on how copyright impacts publication in neglected languages for under-served markets and access to works by persons with cognitive, aural, physical and other disabilities. Her other key focus area is the protection of indigenous knowledge, on which she has authored book chapters and co-edited a volume. African regional integration efforts are also a critical element of her study of how IP law and policy are developing in Africa. This has been the subject of her book entitled Intellectual Property Policy, Law and Administration in Africa: Exploring Continental and Sub-regional Co-operation.

Professor Ncube is a member of the African Policy, Research & Advisory Group on STI and of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

Abstract: Professor Ncube will speak about the proposal for South Africa to have a reversion law that gives authors their rights back automatically after 25 years. She will explain the origins of reversion rights in South Africa, how they became prominent because of a song used in a hit movie, and some of the arguments for and against re-introducing a reversion right for authors in South Africa.

DR ULA FURGAL

Bio: Dr Ula Furgał is a postdoctoral researcher at the CREATe Centre, University of Glasgow. She has competed her PhD at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy) on the topic of copyright expansion into the online news domain. Ula holds a LLM in Intellectual Property from the Trinity Collage Dublin (Ireland), and a Masters in Law from the Jagiellonian University (Poland). As a part of the Author’s Interest Project team, Ula is exploring the European solutions which allow rights to revert back to the authors in the publishing industry and beyond.

Abstract: The new EU Copyright Directive provides for a right of revocation, which requires rightsholders to use-it-or-lose-it. The final shape of the right depends on the ongoing transposition process: Member States are left with considerable freedom while implementing the right. While there is not much of guidance coming from the EU, reversion rights are not a novelty to a number of Member States. Eight MS already provide for a general reversion right due to lack of exploitation of work. These currently existing use-it-or-lose-it solutions, as well as other provisions allowing rights to return to the authors and performers (46 different types in total) could be of great help and inspiration while translating the new reversion right into the language of national copyright acts. They could incentivise national legislators to consider the differences between sectors and types of work, as well as to spot shortcomings in the current system, especially limited consideration of digital exploitation of works.

BRIANNA SCHOFIELD

Bio: Brianna is the Executive Director of Authors Alliance, a US-based nonprofit with the mission to to advance the interests of authors who want to serve the public good by sharing their creations broadly. She is the co-author of several guides that help authors to understand and navigate their rights and responsibilities. Prior to joining Authors Alliance, Brianna was a Teaching Fellow at UC Berkeley School of Law where her research focused on the intersection of law and technology, particularly as it relates to intellectual property regimes, free speech, and access to knowledge. 

Abstract: Brianna will discuss why authors may be motivated to get their rights back from publishers and the various strategies available to authors for regaining rights in the USA. She will highlight stories from authors who have successfully regained rights and explain how their experiences demonstrate the ways that reversions can benefit creators and the public. 

JOSHUA YUVARAJ

Bio: Joshua is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Law, Monash University, Melbourne, and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Melbourne. His doctoral work focuses on reversion rights in the book publishing industry: what they are, why they matter, and how copyright law can provide them to authors.

Joshua is the recipient of a Monash University Graduate Excellence Scholarship. His most recent work on reversion rights in publishing contracts, co-authored with Associate Professor Rebecca Giblin, is to be published in the Melbourne University Law Review shortly.

Abstract: Joshua will present new preliminary data on the US statutory termination right. This system allows copyright creators who have assigned or licensed rights in their works to end those contracts after 35 years, regaining their rights. Much has been written about this system but there is relatively little empirical data on how it is being used. Joshua’s shows who is using the termination right, what works are being terminated, and discusses how this helps us to evaluate whether this system actually helps authors or not.

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