Call for Papers: Legal Issues in Textual Scholarship

The ESTS will be holding an online symposium on 27th October 2023 dedicated to legal issues in textual scholarship. All information regarding registration, and the CfP, can be found on the symposium’s website:

The CfP can also be read below:

Call for papers

Legal Issues in Textual Scholarship

Through the practice of editing culturally and historically relevant documents, textual scholars are regularly faced with legal restrictions to their scholarly endeavours – including both copyright and non-copyright restrictions such as the privacy and moral rights of authors. The 5th ESTS Conference, dedicated to the theme “Private: do (not) enter” (Lisbon, 2008), lifted the veil on some of these legal issues, but the regulatory problem is multifaceted and has been accentuated with the digital turn in humanities research. The fact that copyright law is territorial, for example, makes the path towards publishing and providing international access to online digital scholarly editions of more recent or sensitive documents especially difficult to navigate. In practice, these added difficulties and legal uncertainties cause funding agencies, libraries, and archives to prioritise the digitisation and publication of less legally problematic materials – which threatens to cause a bias in our output as a research field.

To address these issues as a research community and learn from each other’s experiences, the organisers are hosting an online symposium on 27 October 2023 that aims to reflect on the legal restrictions that may affect textual scholarship in the analogue and digital paradigms, with a special focus on textual and genetic criticism. The symposium is organised in affiliation with the European Society for Textual Scholarship as a satellite event taking place outside of its annual conference. 

The organisers of this symposium invite researchers to submit abstracts for a 20-minute contribution on topics such as (but not limited to):

  • limitations to textual scholarship on the basis of copyright law and authors’ moral rights;
  • data privacy, human rights issues, and other non-copyright restrictions in textual scholarship;
  • authors’ rights vs. academic freedom;
  • strategies for working within the limitations of European copyright law and its exceptions for teaching and scientific research;
  • discussion of legal issues pertaining to past and ongoing scholarly projects;
  • navigating legal restrictions in dialogue with living authors or their heirs;
  • editorial handling of variant versions and publication of ne varietur works;
  • legal aspects of working with unpublished materials and orphan works;
  • complications from the perspective of legal deposit;
  • legal issues regarding the institutional curation of documents, the digitization of source materials, and their (re)publication in  a new medium;
  • overlapping policies affecting digital scholarly projects;
  • legal issues with born-digital source materials;
  • lessons learned from failed funding applications on the basis of legal issues.

The deadline for submitting proposals is 18 June 2023. Submissions should include the author’s name, email address, institutional affiliation and position (where relevant), a title of the proposed paper, and an abstract (200-300 words in English). Please address your proposal to Elsa Pereira <> stating “ESTS Legal Issues: proposal” in the email subject line. Abstracts will be reviewed by the members of the scientific committee. Decisions will be announced in July.

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