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Proposed changes to the European Information Society Directive regarding Orphan Works

Mr Jose Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission
B-1049 Bruxelles BELGIUM

Proposed changes to the European Information Society Directive regarding Orphan Works

Dear President Barroso,
I am writing to you in my capacity as President of AIB, Associazione Italiana Biblioteche. Founded in 1930, AIB is the National library association in Italy with more than 3,500 members, both professionals and institutions. AIB is member of IFLA, International Federation of Library Associations, as well as of EBLIDA, European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations, and is officially admitted as Observer in WIPO, World Intellectual Property Organization.
I understand that a draft amendment to the European Information Society Directive regarding Orphan Works is about to be issued by the Commission and that the proposal will include the following provisions for cultural and educational bodies (i.e. not commercial organisations):

  1. A solution for Orphan Works for literary works only (including illustrations bound in the object);
  2. A requirement for a diligent search in line with the Orphan Works recommendations produced as part of the i2010 European Digital Libraries Initiative – due diligence to be performed by the digitising body;
  3. Cross border recognition of national solutions;
  4. A way for fair compensation to be paid to right holders;
  5. The need to publish information about works that are digitised for rights holders to be able to approach the digitising body.

AIB submits the following comments on these proposals. We welcome the new Digital Agenda and the commitment of the European Commission to find a solution for Orphan Works. This is an important issue for us, since without a way forward, Europe’s libraries and archives will be left housing works which it is not possible to digitise because of issues over rights clearance.
We believe firmly in creating, and contributing to a digital Europe and one of the major ways in which libraries and archives can help is by unlocking the content they hold in materials whose right holders cannot be located and which currently fall into the category of Orphan Works.
In this context, points 1 and 2 above are very disappointing.

Point 1 only concerns literary works (and those visual works, including photographs, diagrams, charts and maps that are embedded within them). Any solution to the challenge of dealing with Orphan Works will be counter-productive if it does not also cover audiovisual materials (film and sound recordings) and standalone visual works. Researchers, teachers and learners in many fields of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences make heavy use of audiovisual materials and the full range of standalone visual works. A solution to the Orphan Works problem that omits these classes of works will be in conflict with the recommendations given by the High Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries, which was established by the Commission in February 2006. It would severely disadvantage users since many early to mid-20th century works are orphaned and will not enter the public domain until mid to late 21st century (indeed some 19th century works also are orphaned). Furthermore, their inclusion is essential if Europeana is to become a world class authoritative and comprehensive public sector portal to Europe’s culture.
Point 2 talks of the requirement for diligent searches in line with the i2010 European Digital Libraries Initiative recommendations for Orphan Works – these searches to be performed by the body undertaking the digitisation. We submit that these criteria are only relevant for the digitization of a small number of single works (monographs); they are simply not fit for purposes of mass digitization. EBLIDA had pointed this out to the Commission on several occasions. For holders of material who wish to undertake mass digitisation of, for example, newspapers and journals or radio and television broadcasts as well as very large numbers of books, pamphlets and ephemera, not to mention material deposited in archives, it is impossible to undertake work on rights clearance in the way being suggested by the Commission; it is too expensive in terms of staff time and will take too long. Particularly in these very straitened economic conditions, libraries and archives are likely to shy away from mass digitisation projects if such unsupportable costs are required.
Our efforts to promote digitisation will be severely hampered if the suggested amendments for Orphan Works are made to the European Information Society Directive. We urge the Commission to think again and to consult more closely with representatives of European libraries and archives.

Yours sincerely,
Mauro Guerrini
President of the Associazione Italiana Biblioteche

Rome, 27th October 2010
Prot. n. 151/2010

URL: Copyright AIB 2012-11-13. Creata da Artemisia Gentileschi, ultima modifica 2012-11-13 di