Intellectual property rights (IPR) refers to the rights creators or owners have over their objects (be they digital or otherwise). The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) Preservation Issues section on IPR explains that copyright and other IPR such as moral rights have a substantial impact on digital preservation.
“The IPR issues in digital materials are arguably more complex and significant than for traditional media and if not addressed can impede or even prevent preservation activities. Consideration may need to be given not only to content but to any associated software. Simply copying (refreshing) digital materials onto another medium, encapsulating content and software for emulation, or migrating content to new hardware and software, all involve activities which can infringe IPR unless statutory exemptions exist or specific permissions have been obtained from rights holders.”
If you are preserving digital objects that have not been created solely by those working in your institution, it is beneficial to clarify rights early on and establish a dialogue with rights holders
One method is to assign a licence. For example if you add a Creative Commons licence to a blog which covers all aspects of the blog including comments, then those adding comments to the blog will understand the rights situation.
The Strategic Content Alliance (SCA) has created a number of papers that are particularly relevant to JISC projects including one on the ‘Openness’ of Licences Selected by JISC – Projects to Provide Access to Materials, Tools and Media.