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5 COPYRIGHT AND TRANSFER OF TITLE#

Archive repositories must have ownership of any archive deposited with them, and must also have copyright, sole or shared, over the documentary archive. This must be in line with existing legislation, such as the ‘Copyright, Designs and Patent Act, 1988’, ‘Treasure Act 1996’, ‘Merchant Shipping Act 1995’ and ‘Burials Act 1857’, and laws and regulations particular to different countries in the UK. Because of the legal complexities surrounding this issue, it is not possible to establish any universal standard, but recommendations can be made.

5.1 COPYRIGHT AND OWNERSHIP OF DOCUMENTARY AND DIGITAL ARCHIVES IN ENGLAND#

5.1.1 The Museums and Galleries Commission standards state that museums are required to ‘acquire the right to research, study, display, publish and provide access to all the information and finds contained in the archive either immediately or after an agreed period’ (MGC 1992).

5.1.2 It is the responsibility of the archive repository to obtain a written assignment of copyright from the copyright holders. This can be complicated as various elements of an archive may have different copyright holders, eg OS maps. There must be a mechanism to allow licensed use of all archived material.

5.1.3 If a copyright holder wishes to retain certain rights to the material, then the archive repository could grant them a copyright licence.

5.1.4 If a copyright holder is unwilling to assign copyright, then they may grant a copyright licence to the archive repository, which the latter should obtain in writing.

5.1.5 An archive repository should seek to obtain rights in perpetuity, and fixed period licences should therefore be avoided.

5.1.6 The licence must also represent the interests of third parties, such as the NMR or ADS, which receive copies of the documentary or digital archive.

5.2 COPYRIGHT AND OWNERSHIP OF DOCUMENTARY AND DIGITAL ARCHIVES IN NORTHERN IRELAND#

5.2.1 All documentary and digital archives resulting from licensed excavations should be deposited with the Environment and Heritage Service of the Department of the Environment.

5.2.2 While the depositor would retain intellectual copyright to the archive, the Environment and Heritage Service will make it be accessible upon request to members of the public.

5.2.3 Documentary and digital archives from archaeological projects that have not required a licence may be offered to any appropriate repository, although this will usually be the Environment and Heritage Service. Any appropriate repository should ensure public access to the archives.

5.3 COPYRIGHT AND OWNERSHIP OF DOCUMENTARY AND DIGITAL ARCHIVES IN SCOTLAND#

5.3.1 In Scotland all documentary and digital archives resulting from projects grant-aided or funded by Historic Scotland are submitted to the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), as part of the contract signed between Historic Scotland and the contractor. Deposition in RCAHMS of documentary or digital archives from projects funded by developers or others is actively encouraged.

5.3.2 At the time of deposit, the museum in receipt of the material archive, or RCAHMS, will require clarification on the copyright and ownership of all aspects of the material, eg sub-contracted drawings.

5.3.3 The repository may request a written assignment of copyright from the various copyright holders, or may put in place a written license agreement.

5.4 TRANSFER OF TITLE IN ENGLAND#

5.4.1 At present landowners retain all rights of ownership to archaeological materials found on their land, with the exception of items classified as Treasure.

5.4.1 It is highly desirable that the landowner transfers title to all archaeological objects, other than treasure, to the appropriate archive repository. Archive repositories should have forms for this purpose, which will require the signature of the landowner and witnesses.
5.4.2 In order to facilitate transfer of title, it is important that the archive repository is identified at the planning stage of a project, and referred to in project briefs and specifications. This is the responsibility of the planning archaeologist, the archaeological contractor and representatives of the archive repository.

5.4.3 The archaeologist undertaking fieldwork is responsible for obtaining the written consent of the landowner to transfer ownership of the finds to the identified archive repository.

5.4.4 It is highly desirable that transfer of title forms be signed by the landowner at the planning stage of a project, although it is recognised that landowners may be reluctant to do this, and forms may therefore be signed when the archive is prepared for deposition.

5.5 TRANSFER OF TITLE IN NORTHERN IRELAND#

5.5.1 In Northern Ireland all excavations are licensed by the Environment and Heritage Service of the Department of the Environment.

5.5.2 The Environment and Heritage Service issues their own transfer of title form to licensees, and they have a responsibility to attempt to secure the signature of the landowner. The form seeks to transfer title to excavated material to the Department of the Environment on the understanding that it would be offered to the Ulster Museum.

5.5.3 No licensing arrangement is in place for archaeological projects that produce a material archive, but are not excavations, such as field-walking. A suitable archive repository should be identified, and arrangements for transfer of title finalised, before the project commences.

5.5.4 The ‘Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (Northern Ireland) Order 1995’ makes it a statutory duty of finders to report all archaeological objects to the Environment and Heritage Service, or to the Director of the Ulster Museum, or to the officer in charge of a police station, within fourteen days of discovery, unless the finds have been made in the course of a licensed excavation. Issues of title may then be resolved as appropriate.

5.6 TRANSFER OF TITLE IN SCOTLAND#

5.6.1 In Scotland all archaeological artefacts may be claimed as the property of the Crown. All such finds must be reported to the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel. Finds from projects funded by Historic Scotland must report to Historic Scotland, who will liaise with the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel. These bodies determine which archive repository will have responsibility for, and assume ownership of, the material archive. Further information may be found at www.treasuretrovescotland.co.uk.

5.7 MARINE WRECK AND FINDS#

5.7.1 The seabed in British waters is owned by the Crown, and all seabed finds must be reported to the Receiver of Wreck. This includes all wreck material, and stray finds or groups of finds. The Receiver of Wreck resolves issues of ownership and reward in accordance with The Merchant Shipping Act 1995, and decides how to dispose of any recovered finds.

5.7.2 If wreck is not claimed for ownership within one year of being reported to the Receiver of Wreck, then ownership is decided by the Receiver of Wreck, who is empowered to transfer title to a recognised repository.