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Copyright and Terminology

As early as in October 1986, Infoterm convened an International Workshop on Copyright in Terminology. That was at a time, when nobody was aware of copyright issues related to terminological data. Neither legal experts nor database experts wanted to be concerned with that topic.

The results of the above-mentioned Workshop were later supplemented by a Code of good practice – Copyright in terminology, which had been prepared in co-operation with a number of experts in response to a recommendation of the Joint Inter-Agency Meeting of Computer-Assisted Translation and Terminology (JIAMCATT), a forum for debate, exchange of expertise and cooperation within the United Nations.

In 1993 a second International Workshop was held by Infoterm as part of the Third International Congress on Terminology and Knowledge Engineering” (TKE’93). This Workshop discussed a model contract drafted by Jürgen Goebel and Christian Galinski, which later passed several rounds of checks by legal experts of international organizations of the UN system and international NGOs, such as ISO.

The result of that discussion gradually took shape in the direction of general guidelines, which were presented at an International Expert Meeting on Intellectual Property Rights, jointly organized by UNIDO, UNESCO, Infoterm and OCG (Austrian Computer Society) in Vienna, on 23-24 March 1995. The Expert Meeting also served as a preparatory event leading up to the First International Congress on Intellectual Property Rights for Specialized Information, Knowledge and New Technologies (KnowRight’95), held in Vienna on 21-25 August 1995. Infoterm contributed to the Congress with a pre-conference workshop on “Copyright in Terminology and Lexicography” (and other kinds of knowledge representation at the level of concepts).

The European Language Resource Association (ELRA) supported the publication of the "Guide to Terminology Agreements" in English and German, which was later translated also into French and Spanish. It includes the Directive 96/9/EC on the legal protection of databases, adopted by the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996.

In the age of content integration and interoperability, it would be a worthwhile effort to update the Guide to Terminology Agreements and extend it to all kinds of structured content.
See also:
Copyright and other Legal Issues by Inke Raupach (Institute for Information Management, Cologne)

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Last update: 2011-10-14

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