The question has arisen earlier this week over a Twitter row [are they becoming more frequent than off-line rows?] over publication on Twitter of a picture taken inside one of the British Library (or 'BL') reading rooms.
The story is told by Business 2 Community and runs as follows.
Financial Times columnist John Gapper happened to be at the BL on 21 March last, and thought of giving the world [or, rather, his Twitter followers] evidence of this by tweeting a picture right from the Humanities Reading Room [also this Kat spent some exciting time there
Shortly after this happened, the ever-efficient BL Reference Service tweeted back at Mr Gapper, requesting he immediately deleted his tweet. The reasons? Breach of copyright and data protection laws.
|The infamous Twitter picture|
As regards copyright, the BL Reference Service claimed that the picture [yes, look at it again] was likely infringing copyright in the collection items [?], and that "Copying all of a book in copyright is against the law" [fair enough, but how did this relate to Mr Gapper's case?].
Following this Twitter row, yesterday the BL released a statement in which it conceded that "[t]he photo itself was not in breach of copyright regulations", and apologised for earlier inaccurate information.
However, the BL confirmed that "Under the terms of the British Library’s reading room regulations, mobile phone cameras, and any other camera device, may not be used within the Reading Rooms at any time, for reasons of privacy and for the consideration of other readers working in the space."
Among other things, these terms state that:
- Cameras and scanners must not be brought into the Reading Rooms. Likewise, mobile phone cameras must not be used within the Reading Rooms [but perhaps you can use your iPad camera, since iPads cannot make phone calls?].
- The principles of the Data Protection Act, 1998 may apply to the use of any information relating to living individuals which is obtained from our unpublished collections [so not from the mere fact that there is someone who is reading something in one of the Reading Rooms?]. Current UK data protection must therefore be complied with.
|Gigi is not at the BL, |
but does she have
a reasonable expectation of privacy?
|" ... And then the evil Copyright Monster |
will come and hurt you mercilessly
if you take (and tweet) any pictures"