EU & Digitisation

The EC has many times underscored the importance of digital preservation and the online dissemmination (by means of digitization and granting access to the digitized works) of Europe’s rich cultural heritage, [see for instance: A Digital Agenda for Europe COM (2010) 245; Communication A Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights […]’ COM(2011) 287, Recommendation ‘on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation’ C(2011) 7579] for this contributes to promoting cultural diversity and the development of the knowledge economy. It is therefore deemed necessary that also copyright protected material is digitised and disclosed online. In Europeana, Europe’s digital library, over 19 milion objects have been made available (see The objective is to increase that number to 30 milion by 2015. To that effect, aforementioned recommendation, which is based on earlier conclusions of the Comité des Sages (see IP/11/17), sets targets per Member State for minimum content contribution by 2015 and invites them to get more in-copyright material online. Adoption of measures supporting cultural and creative industries and ensuring a sustainable model for financing Europeana are amon the goals of the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200).  Rights clearance of in-copyright material in order to achieve the necessary permission of copyright holders in order to digitise (=reproducing) and disclose works online (=making available to the public) may come at high costs, and often rightholders cannot be located, which implicates that in these cases, digitisation and online dissemmination may not take place at all under the current copyright regimes. [see f.i. A. Vuopala, ‘Assessment of the Orphan works issue and the Costs for Rights Clearance‘, May 2010).

In order to overcome certain copyright-related hurdles standing in the way of digitisation and the online dissemination of copyright protected works, the EC has endorsed the

and has adopted a

This proposal has led to several reactions  and comments, as for example indicated by L. Guibault, and has undergone a number of compromises, which can be viewed here.

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