The Digital Media Project



G. Colyer


TRU #13 to annotate for personal use




Greg Colyer

Affiliation/additional information:


Date submitted:



# Criteria Description
1. Name of TRU TRU to annotate for personal use
2. Summary description of TRU The traditional right to augment media with additional information for personal use. The result could be regarded as a limited form of derivative work. However, whilst the publication of derivative works is typically restricted by copyright, end-users have not traditionally been restricted from making annotations for personal use.
3. Use records of TRU Adding marginal notes in a book, labels on a record collection, audio notes to a compact cassette, etc.
Note that this TRU is underpinned by the TRU to freedom from monitoring: under the principle that unenforcable laws are bad laws, personal annotation had to be allowed if only because there was no practical way to limit it. It would (now) also be regarded as reasonable by end-users. Note that there can be trade in the end-result of annotation, for instance "famous writer X's" annotated copy of "famous writer Y's" book might be quite valuable, even sought by national libraries, etc. [with what copyright implications?]
4. Nature of TRU Customary. Also, legally supported at least to the extent that making annotations does not constitute a derivative work, in which case copyright is not involved.
5. Benefits of TRU End-users benefit by not being forced to separate original and supplementary information. End-users and authors may suffer from confusion between the original and the annotated work. Authors may suffer if annotations become public and are perceived to be detrimental to the author's interests or simply unjust because unrewarded derivative work. However, in this case annotations could also be permitted as commentary of the kind found in a newspaper.
6. Possible digital support Annotation implies some kind of write-permission. It could nevertheless be separated from the original information, either visibly (like sticky-notes on PDFs) or invisibly (like hidden tracked changes in Word), which would avoid confusion between the original and supplementary information.
7. Requirements Write-permission, optionally with separation of the original and supplementary information. Also, to allow, for example, handwritten annotations on printed text, it might be necessary to support media types (graphics, in this case) that go beyond those necessary for the original information (just text, in this case).