NLW Digitisation Proposals
The Society of Authors
The following item appeared in the summer 2008 issue of The Author, the magazine of the Society of Authors.
“The National Library of Wales is embarking on an ambitious project, aimed at making as many Welsh journals as possible openly accessible online. The venture has given rise to a good deal of publicity, as quite a number of professional writers have been critical of the project and have declined to take part.
We expressed concern to the Librarian, Andrew Green, that writers seemed not to have been widely consulted; some clearances were being done on an ‘opt out’ basis; and the licences being sought from writers seemed very broad.
Mr Green has confirmed that explicit consent will be sought from copyright holders and that material will be taken down if necessary. It is possible for writers to restrict use to ‘non commercial purposes only’. Nevertheless, the essential licensing terms proposed by the Library are wide and there is no provision for payment. The terms offered may be acceptable to those who are not paid for writing in Welsh journals and are primarily concerned to see their work more widely disseminated. However, professional writers will certainly want to consider carefully whether the granting of a licence to the National Library of Wales is wise, taking account of the potential income that they might receive if they were able to exploit that work elsewhere.”
From The Author, summer 2008 issue.
The advice contained here is pretty clear. If you are a professional author stay clear. Do not give your permission. Already a considerable number of Welsh authors are withholding theirs. These include Jan Morris, the National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke, the former National Poet Gwyneth Lewis, leading Welsh internationalist Robert Minhinnick, The Professor of Poetry at the University of Glamorgan Tony Curtis, Rough Guides editor Mike Parker, Bethan Gwanas, Wil Owen Roberts, Meg Elis, Meic Stephens, Harri Pritchard Jones, Stevie Davies, Fflur Dafydd, and many others.