Consultation on how to operate EU's digital library

By EDRi · September 9, 2009

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Deutsch: [Beratungen darüber, wie die digitale Bibliothek der EU geführt werden soll |]

The European Commission launched a consultation on 28 August 2009 on EU’s
digital library project Europeana, set up in November 2008, in order to
find the best way to make the project work.

Differently from the controversial Google’s Book project having scanned
about 10 million books, many of which are still copyrighted based on
Google’s agreement with the US Author’s Guild allowing the company to scan
copyrighted material in the US, Europeana has scanned about 4.6 million
works including books, photos, films and maps which are not covered by
copyright and has not yet included orphaned copyrighted works.

The project has met difficulties in developing and in competing with
Google’s initiative because of the current legal framework. “Europeana
includes, for legal reasons, neither out-of print works (some 90% of the
books in Europe’s national libraries), nor orphan works (estimated at 10 –
20% of in-copyright collections) which are still in copyright but where the
author cannot be identified,” says the recent European Commission statement.

Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, who is
very strongly supporting the project, considers alarming the fact that “only
5% of all digitised books in the EU are available on Europeana.” She also
observed that “almost half of Europeana’s digitised works have come from one
country alone, while all other Member States continue to under-perform
dramatically. To me this shows, above all, that Member States must stop
envying progress made in other continents and finally do their own homework.
It also shows that Europeana alone will not suffice to put Europe on the
digital map of the world. We need to work better together to make Europe’s
copyright framework fit for the digital age.”

The Commission declared its target to reach 10 million digitised objects by
2010 and wants to get opinions from the industry and the public on how it
should operate the Europeana project which costs 3 million euro per year.

“How can it be ensured that digitised material can be made available to
consumers EU-wide? Should there be better cooperation with publishers with
regard to in-copyright material? Would it be a good idea to create European
registries for orphan and out-of print works? How should Europeana be
financed in the long term?” are some of the questions asked by the
Commission in the statement announcing the consultation.

The consultation runs until 15 November 2009.

EU consults on copyright problems of digitising libraries (1.09.2009)

Commission of the European Communities – Europeana – next steps (28.08.2009)

Questions for the public consultation “Europeana – next steps”

i2010: Digital Libraries Initiative

Europeana – Europe’s digital library

Digital libraries initiative of the European Union

Europe’s Digital Library doubles in size but also shows EU’s lack of common
web copyright solution (28.08.2009)