This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Request justification of claims of Copyright over scanned copies of out of copyright newspaper pages'.



Martin Orpen 
[FOI #103829 email] 
 
 
 
27 February 2012 
 
Dear Mr. Orpen 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – REQUEST 1205 
Thank you for your request for information, which we received on 30 January 2012. 
You asked us for a copy of the legal advice that we have received in relation to the 
Library’s assertion of copyright over scanned images of newspaper pages published 
at http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk. You also asked us for a detailed 
description of the production process that created those images, and specifically for 
details of the unit cost of the image, the cost of the equipment used, the training 
period required for the operators of the equipment and the financial compensation 
that they receive. 
We have considered your request for information and I deal with each element of 
your request in detail below. 
 
Legal Advice 
I can confirm that the British Library does hold legal advice in relation to the assertion 
of intellectual property rights over images created from public domain works, which 
was provided by Farrer & Co in 2007 and updated in 2011. These documents are 
exempt from disclosure under Section 42 of the Freedom of Information Act. 
Section 42 is a qualified exemption which sets aside the right of access to 
information where the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the 
public interest in disclosure, and which provides that information is exempt from 
disclosure where a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal 
proceedings. 
The factors weighing in favour of disclosure are: 
  There is general public interest in ensuring that public bodies should be 
accountable for the quality of their decision making, and in ensuring that the 
decision making process is as transparent as possible. 
  There is general public interest in informing the ongoing public debate in 
relation to various aspects of copyright in the digital world. 
  There is some public interest in knowing whether or not legal advice was 
followed by a public body. 
 
Jonathan Fryer 
Records Manager (Information Compliance) 
T +44 (0)20 7412 7334    [email address] 



The factors weighing in favour of maintaining the exemption are: 
  There is significant public interest in maintaining the convention of 
confidentiality between lawyer and client 
  There is strong public interest in preserving the Library’s ability to protect and 
defend its legal interests, which support the public good. That ability would be 
materially prejudiced by disclosure of legal advice which may be relied upon 
in future to inform future policy or defend against future litigation. 
  There is general public interest in ensuring that decisions made by public 
authorities are taken in a fully informed legal context. Authorities require legal 
advice for the effective performance of their operations, and that advice of 
necessity must be given in confidence by lawyers fully apprised of the facts, 
and without such comprehensive advice any decision making by the authority 
may be compromised. 
The factors in favour of disclosure are in this case outweighed by those against. This 
letter therefore acts as a refusal notice under Section 17(1) of the Act in relation to 
these documents. 
The British Library’s position remains that where skill, judgement and/or labour are 
used in the creation of an image of works that have fallen into the public domain, a 
new copyright will exist in relation to that image. This is not the case for a mere 
mechanical facsimile such as a photocopy, but the threshold of originality under UK 
law is very low and where the parameters of the image capture or the manipulation of 
the resulting image require human skill or judgement, or where the handling of the 
original to create the image requires significant human skill or labour, then the 
procedure can not be regarded as a mere mechanical copy and the resulting image 
constitutes a new copyright work. 
The Library takes this position in part so as to ensure that the output of the Library’s 
digitisation projects remains under the control of the Library, and that the resulting 
work thereby belongs to the nation. Large scale digitisation projects are almost 
prohibitively expensive, and one of the main ways that the Library manages to 
accomplish such work is via public/private partnerships where a commercial partner 
undertakes the work on our behalf on a contractual basis. This is the case with the 
current Newspaper Archive project undertaken with brightsolid. In return for their 
support our partners gain the contractual right to exploit images deriving from the 
content of our collections for a limited time. However, by asserting our copyright over 
the resulting images the Library ensures that the results of the project ultimately 
belong to the nation, and therefore the Library retains the ability to make such 
content freely available for the public good via our reading rooms, and additionally 
retains the option to make such content available freely and more widely at a later 
date should it so choose. 
 
 
 
Jonathan Fryer 
Records Manager (Information Compliance) 
T +44 (0)20 7412 7334    [email address] 



 
The Production Process 
The website at http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk is the result of the Library’s 
public/private partnership with brightsolid, who are digitising public domain 
newspapers from the British Library’s newspaper archive at no expense to the 
Library or the public purse. As such, much of the operational information that you 
have requested is an internal matter for brightsolid and is therefore not held by the 
Library. 
Specifically, the Library holds no record of: 
  The unit cost of the image created 
  The cost of the equipment used to create the image 
  The training period undertaken by the operators of that equipment 
  The financial compensation received by those operators 
The Library does however hold some information about the image production 
process, insofar as it is described in the Library’s contract with brightsolid. Please 
find enclosed a copy of the relevant schedules from the contract. Please note 
however that material throughout the body of these schedules falls under an 
exemption under the Act, namely Section 43. 
Section 43(2) is a qualified exemption that provides that information is exempt from 
disclosure if such disclosure would (or would be likely to) prejudice the commercial 
interests of any party, where the public interest in maintaining the exemption 
outweighs the public interest in the disclosure of the information. 
Commercial interests refer specifically to a party’s ability to buy and sell goods or 
services, and may be prejudiced by damage to business reputation, damage to 
customer/supplier/investor confidence, negative impact on revenue, threats to ability 
to obtain supplies or finance, or by revelation of market sensitive data in a 
competitive environment. 
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) gives detailed advice in the Civil 
Procurement guidelines as to what elements of a contract may be released into the 
public domain, and we have followed these guidelines throughout. 
 
Schedule 2 & Related Annexes (Specific Details) 
This schedule is the detailed service description of the contract. As such it contains 
detailed information relating to brightsolid’s methodologies & operations, technical 
capabilities, marketing plans and other strategic information, all of which would 
prejudice their commercial interests if disclosed by allowing competitors an unfair 
advantage when competing against brightsolid in future negotiations. 
 
The factors weighing in favour of disclosure are: 
 
Jonathan Fryer 
Records Manager (Information Compliance) 
T +44 (0)20 7412 7334    [email address] 



  There is general public interest in the accountability for use of public funds 
  There is general public interest in proper scrutiny of government actions in 
carrying out procurement in accordance with published policy, and in an open 
and honest way 
  There is strong public interest in ensuring that public money is used effectively, 
and in ensuring that the Library is getting value for money when procuring goods 
and services, but this interest is significantly reduced by the provision of the 
generality of the Services Description which should be sufficient to satisfy the 
public interest in this regard. 
 
The factors in favour of maintaining the exemption are: 
 
  There is general public interest in preventing potential harm to the competitive 
interests of parties involved in supply of goods and services to government 
which would in turn make it harder for public bodies to procure goods and 
services, resulting in less effective use of public money 
  There is general public interest in ensuring that business feels able to engage in 
commerce with public bodies without the risk of commercial data being 
compromised to the detriment of commercial interests 
  There is general public interest in protecting the commercial interests of the 
private sector (which plays an important role in the general health of the 
economy) 
  There is very strong public interest in preventing the prejudice to brightsolid’s 
commercial interests that would be caused by revealing details of their 
marketing plans, technological capabilities, operating methodologies and such 
like, and this is supported by the OGC’s guidance in relation to the redaction of 
such information. 
 
The factors in favour of disclosure are outweighed by those in favour of maintaining 
the exemption. Please note that Annex C is not redacted – the graphic illustrations 
are simply obscured by poor image quality, and do not contain any information of 
material significance to your request for information. 
 
The specific details in Schedule 2 (excluding Annex A & Annex C) that are exempt 
from disclosure under Section 43(2) were provided to the Library by brightsolid in 
confidence, and brightsolid’s solicitors have informed the Library that disclosure of 
this information would be viewed by brightsolid as an actionable breach of 
confidence. As such, the details that have been withheld from disclosure in Schedule 
2 (excluding Annex A & Annex C) are also exempt from disclosure under Section 41 
of the Freedom of Information Act. 
 
Section 41 provides that information is exempt if it was obtained by the public 
authority from any other organisation and the disclosure of that information to the 
public would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that organisation. 
 
Jonathan Fryer 
Records Manager (Information Compliance) 
T +44 (0)20 7412 7334    [email address] 



Section 41 is an absolute exemption and we are not therefore required to consider 
the public interest in disclosure. 
Schedule 4 
This schedule is the detailed material handling standards for the contract. The 
methodologies and technical standards involved are proprietary to brightsolid and 
formed the basis of their tender. Disclosure of this information would prejudice their 
commercial interests if disclosed by allowing competitors an unfair advantage when 
competing against brightsolid in future negotiations. 
 
The factors weighing in favour of disclosure are: 
 
  There is general public interest in the accountability for use of public funds 
  There is general public interest in proper scrutiny of government actions in 
carrying out procurement in accordance with published policy, and in an open 
and honest way 
  There is strong public interest in ensuring that public money is used effectively, 
and in ensuring that the Library is getting value for money when procuring goods 
and services, but this interest is significantly reduced by the provision of the 
generality of the Services Description which should be sufficient to satisfy the 
public interest in this regard. 
  There is strong public interest in ensuring that the Library’s collection is not 
damaged in the execution of this contract, but this is reduced by the disclosure 
of the headings in this schedule that should demonstrate that all relevant 
standards and provisions have been thoroughly addressed and thereby satisfy 
the public interest in this regard. 
 
The factors weighing in favour of maintaining the exemption are: 
 
  There is general public interest in preventing potential harm to the competitive 
interests of parties involved in supply of goods and services to government 
which would in turn make it harder for public bodies to procure goods and 
services, resulting in less effective use of public money 
  There is general public interest in ensuring that business feels able to engage in 
commerce with public bodies without the risk of commercial data being 
compromised to the detriment of commercial interests 
  There is general public interest in protecting the commercial interests of the 
private sector (which plays an important role in the general health of the 
economy) 
  There is very strong public interest in preventing the prejudice to brightsolid’s 
commercial interests that would be caused by revealing details of their 
technological capabilities, operating methodologies and such like, and this is 
supported by the OGC’s guidance in relation to the redaction of such 
information. 
 
The factors in favour of disclosure are outweighed by those in favour of maintaining 
the exemption. 
Jonathan Fryer 
Records Manager (Information Compliance) 
T +44 (0)20 7412 7334    [email address] 



 
In addition, the aggregation of information in Schedule 4 (as opposed to the specific 
details) constitutes a trade secret, in that the unique approach to work detailed 
therein is specific information used in business, is proprietary to the supplier of that 
information (in this case, brightsolid), and would be liable to cause real or significant 
harm to the owner’s commercial interests if disclosed. Section 43(1) therefore also 
applies to Schedule 4. 
 
Section 43(1) is a qualified exemption that provides that information is exempt if it is 
a trade secret and where the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs 
the public interest in the disclosure of the information. 
 
Factors in favour of disclosure: 
 
  There is general public interest in the accountability for use of public funds 
  There is general public interest in proper scrutiny of government actions in 
carrying out procurement in accordance with published policy, and in an open 
and honest way 
  There is strong public interest in ensuring that public money is used effectively, 
and in ensuring that the Library is getting value for money when procuring goods 
and services, but this interest is significantly reduced by the provision of the 
generality of the Services Description which should be sufficient to satisfy the 
public interest in this regard. 
  There is strong public interest in ensuring that the Library’s collection is not 
damaged in the execution of this contract, but this is reduced by the disclosure 
of the headings in this schedule that should demonstrate that all relevant 
standards and provisions have been thoroughly addressed and thereby satisfy 
the public interest in this regard. 
 
Factors in favour of maintaining the exemption: 
 
  There is general public interest in preventing potential harm to the competitive 
interests of parties involved in supply of goods and services to government 
which would in turn make it harder for public bodies to procure goods and 
services, resulting in less effective use of public money 
  There is general public interest in ensuring that business feels able to engage in 
commerce with public bodies without the risk of commercial data being 
compromised to the detriment of commercial interests 
  There is general public interest in protecting the commercial interests of the 
private sector (which plays an important role in the general health of the 
economy) 
  There is very strong public interest in preventing the prejudice to brightsolid’s 
commercial interests that would be caused by revealing details of their 
technological capabilities, operating methodologies and such like, and this is 
supported by the OGC’s guidance in relation to the redaction of such 
information. 
Jonathan Fryer 
Records Manager (Information Compliance) 
T +44 (0)20 7412 7334    [email address] 



 
The factors in favour of disclosure are outweighed by those in favour of maintaining 
the exemption. 
 
In addition, the specific details in Schedule 4 that are exempt from disclosure under 
Sections 43(1) & 43(2) were provided to the Library by brightsolid in confidence, and 
brightsolid’s solicitors have advised the Library that disclosure of this information 
would be viewed by brightsolid as an actionable breach of confidence. As such, the 
details that have been withheld from disclosure in Schedule 4 are also exempt from 
disclosure under Section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act. 
 
Section 41 provides that information is exempt if it was obtained by the public 
authority from any other organisation and the disclosure of that information to the 
public would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that organisation. 
 
Section 41 is an absolute exemption and we are not therefore required to consider 
the public interest in disclosure. 
 
 
This letter therefore acts as a refusal notice under Section 17(1) of the Act in relation 
to the information withheld from both schedules.  
You may find it useful to know that the use of these exemptions in relation to this 
information has already been assessed by the Information Commissioner in relation 
to another request for the same information. His decision that the British Library 
acted correctly to withhold this information from disclosure on the basis detailed 
above can be found in Decision Notice FS50361862 at: 
http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/decisionnotices/2011/fs_50361862.ashx.  
We have of course reassessed the potential prejudice that would or might be caused 
by the requested disclosure of this information, and reassessed the balance of public 
interest in this regard as it stands at the date of your current request. However, the 
position remains unchanged from the date of the previous request assessed in 
Decision Notice FS50361862, in that the information remains current and proprietary 
to brightsolid
 
If you are unhappy with our response to your request and wish to make a complaint 
or request a review of our decision, you should write to: 
The Chief Executive 
The British Library 
96 Euston Road 
London 
NW1 2DB 
Jonathan Fryer 
Records Manager (Information Compliance) 
T +44 (0)20 7412 7334    [email address] 



Please note, complaints and requests for internal review received more than two 
months after the initial decision will not be handled. 
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may appeal 
directly to the Information Commissioner at the address given below. You should do 
this within two months of our final decision. There is no charge for making an appeal. 
Further information on the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is available from the 
Information Commissioner’s Office: 
Wycliffe House 
Water Lane 
Wilmslow 
SK9 5AF 
 
Telephone 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45 
 
Website www.ico.gov.uk 
 
Yours sincerely 
 
 
 
 
Jonathan Fryer 
Jonathan Fryer 
Records Manager (Information Compliance) 
T +44 (0)20 7412 7334    [email address]