Copying and sharing data - An overview


Types of text used in language resources

There are essentially three types of text that language scientists use to build resources:

1) By german standards, texts not protected by copyright, such as individual facts, texts that are not protected due to statutory exemptions (such as the text of laws, international conventions, etc.), or things that do not meet the originality standard for copyright protection.

  • Individual facts are not protected, although databases of them are.
  • The texts of laws are not protected, but the status of many government produced documents (such as parliamentary proceedings) in unclear.
  • The originality standard for texts is met by works that are "the author’s own intellectual creation" ("persönliche geistige Schöpfungen"). For images and multimedia works, the standard is different.

2) old texts, i.e. texts not longer protected because their copyright term has expired.

  • In Germany, the works of authors are protected for life + 70 years, but the rules are different for many different kinds of works. See copyright term.
  • If texts are clearly no longer protected by author's rights, researchers may use their works without permission.
  • Old texts whose protection status cannot be determined (because it is difficult/impossible to contact the copyright owner, the company that published is had gone out of business, etc.) are called orphan works.

3) protected texts used through licenses.

  • If the author is alive or has been dead for less than 70 years, their texts are protected by authors rights.
  • Researchers can make copies of these works for their personal scientific use, which allows them to share the copies only within their team.
  • To share copies, selections, or derivative works outside a team (i.e. within CLARIN-D), it is a best practice for researchers to obtain licenses for certain uses (copying, distributing, creation of derivative works, etc.) of works.

Note: protection and publication does not depend on country

  • German law protects the works of authors regardless of whether a text was published online or on paper. German law protects texts regardless of whether the work was published in Germany or another country.

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