A02: Preserving orphan works and out of print works
Create a legal framework to facilitate the digitisation and dissemination of cultural works in Europe by proposing a Directive on orphan works by 2010, to conduct a dialogue with stakeholders with a view to further measures on out-of-print works, complemented by rights information databases.

What is the problem? Legal difficulties block online access to copyrighted cultural works.

Millions of copyrighted cultural works lie unexploited in libraries and museums throughout Europe. This includes orphan works, where the copyright owner cannot be traced which makes approval for digitalisation and online distribution impossible to obtaine. The same difficulties also apply also to much out-of-print material which constitutes some 70% of publishers' collections.

Why is EU action needed? EU-wide framework needed to bring these online and into Europeana

We need clear, Europe-wide rules and an agreed legal framework to enable further digitisation and dissemination of our cultural resources – literary, musical and artistic. These are crucial for the European digital libraries initiative and for the future Europeana – Europe's digital library – which aims to place Europe's vast cultural resources at the disposal of all Europeans.

What are the Commission's plans?

In 2010:

  • complete an impact assessment and propose a Directive on orphan works, thereby creating a legal framework to digitise and disseminate European cultural works.
  • - monitor the ARROW project on accessible registries and rights information to facilitate rights search and reduce the number of orphan works in the future..
  • - launch a stakeholder forum on digitisation of out-of-print works

In 2011:

The Commission plans to:

  • adopt the Directive on orphan works
  • draw up conclusions of ARROW project and launch a follow-up measure ARROW+ which also covers audiovisual works.
  • pursue work in the framework of a stakeholders' forum on digitisation of out-of-print works
  • publicise of a report on the basis of the first workshop of the forum of Nov 2010, containing examples of successful digitisation models for out-of-print works.

Further info




Digital Agenda for Europe »Digital Agenda for Europe
Pillars & Actions »Pillars & Actions
P1: Digital Single Market »P1: Digital Single Market
A02: Preserving orphan works and out of print works
Directive on orphan works adopted 24 May 2011 »Directive on orphan works adopted 24 May 2011
KA1:(b) Directive on orphan works »KA1:(b) Directive on orphan works
W13: ICT and management of creative content »W13: ICT and management of creative content
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