MEP:”Orphan” works soon to be online?

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A photo, a film or a poem still covered by copyright, but whose right holder is not identifiable, would be made publicly available across the EU, under draft legislation voted by the Legal Affairs Committee on Thursday. This legislation would allow everyone to access so-called “orphan works” and push forward the project of making Europe’s cultural heritage available online.

MEPs unanimously approved a mandate for Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D, PL), to start talks with the Council to agree reach an agreement on the legislation.

Ms Geringer de Oedenberg said “This regulation would finally make it possible to get some hidden treasures out of the closet and make them available to the general public. Now it is time to start negotiating with national governments and stand up for our points”.

Currently, digitising an orphan work can be difficult if not impossible, since in absence of the right holder there is no way to obtain permission. The new rules would protect institutions using orphan works from future copyright infringement claims, and thus avoid court cases like that in the US, in which a Google project to digitise and share all kinds of books, including orphan works, was blocked on the grounds that the orphan works question should be settled by legislation, not private agreements. Here to read more.

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