Copyright clearing for EU digital libraries project

By EDRi · April 25, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

On 18 April 2007, a copyright handling model for digitalised works was
agreed by EU High Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries including major
stakeholders such as the Federation of European Publishers, the British
Library, the German national library and Google.

The High Level Expert Group, founded in 2006 by Viviane Reding, the
Commissioner for Information Society and Media, advises the Commission on
issues regarding digitisation, online accessibility and digital preservation
of cultural material. This action is part of the European Digital Library
initiative adopted by the European Commission in June 2005 in order to
preserve European cultural and scientific heritage making them available
online in closed networks.

In February 2007, the Commission adopted a Communication on “Scientific
Information in the Digital Age: Access, Dissemination and Preservation” to
examine and support new ways of promoting better access to scientific
information online and to preserve research results digitally for future

“Protection of intellectual property is important to stimulate creativity
and innovation in the knowledge-based economy. Solving copyright issues in
an online-environment is therefore crucial if we are to make the vision of a
European Digital Library a reality”, said Reding.

The model recommended by the group covers for the time being orphan works
(works with no identified right holders) and out-of-print works (no longer
for sale) but leaves room for further coverage of commercial publications.

As regards the orphan works, the group suggested non-legislative solutions
like databases dedicated to information on orphan works, embedding better
rightsholder data in digital material, and negotiating better contracts
between stakeholders. It has also reviewed several legislative proposals
to determining when the search for the owner of an orphaned work is

Regarding the out-of-print works, the Group suggest a four-phase solution
that is based on a model licence (presented in an Annex to the report),
establishment of a database of such works, a joint clearance centre and a
procedure to clear rights.

According to this solution, the rights-holders can license their works to a
library, which further on digitalises them making them available to other
users such as museums, universities, other libraries or home PCs. The
licensed library will be responsible for collecting the money from the users
and for paying the right holder.

The exact level of payment did not make the object of the deal but according
to some sources a likely cost could be close to 1 euro per each use of a
work. However, the amount would depend on negotiations of the individual

Report on Digital Preservation, Orphan Works and Out-of-Print Works,
Selected Implementation Issues (18.04.2007)

Copyright deal clears way for European Digital Library (19.04.2007)

EU Copyright Group Seeks Solutions to Digitisation Roadblocks (20.04.2007)

Europe’s Digital Library experts set to focus on copyright today

i2010: Digital Libraries Initiative – Europe’s Cultural and Scientific
Heritage at a Click of a Mouse