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Wider access to copyright material - Orphan works - EUR-Lex

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Wider access to copyright material - Orphan works - EUR-Lex

This law aims to expand availability in digital format and public access to orphan works across the EU.

Orphan works are books, magazines, films, audio recordings, etc. that are protected by copyright but whose owners cannot be identified or found.

ACT

Directive 2012/28/EU of 25 October 2012 on certain permitted uses of orphan works.

SUMMARY

What's the issue?

This Directive is designed to promote the digitisation of and lawful cross-border online access to orphan works contained in the collections of libraries, schools, universities, museums, archives, audiovisual heritage institutions and public service broadcasting organisations.

These organisations have a public interest mission to preserve, restore and provide online access to their collections, for cultural and educational reasons.

They will now be able to use orphan works for this purpose without the risk of infringing copyright.

Orphan status

The Directive applies to:

  • works that are first published or broadcast in a given EU country
  • (under certain conditions) unpublished works in the collections of certain organisations.

Verifying the status of works

The organisations covered by the directive must ensure that a diligent search for rightsholders is carried out in good faith by the appropriate institutions in their country to verify orphan work status. This must be done before using the work.

The Directive lists sources that must, as a minimum, be consulted in this search. The institution must also keep a record of the search to substantiate that the search was diligent.

Material that is considered as orphaned in one EU country has the same status in all other EU countries.

A rightsholder of what is considered to be an orphan work has the possibility of putting an end to the orphan work status in so far as their rights are concerned.

There is also a system of compensation in the event of a rightsholder reappearing.

Database of all works

A single, Europe-wide, publicly accessible online database will be set up, containing information on orphan works, including the results of searches for rightsholders, the use made of orphan works by organisations and any changes in the orphan work status of works used.

This ensures that both the organisations carrying out the searches and the rightsholders can easily find information about which works have been identified as orphans.

Permitted uses of orphan works

Organisations covered by the Directive may use an orphan work only to achieve aims related to their public-interest mission.

If they generate revenues by using orphan works, these should be for the exclusive purpose of covering the costs of digitising the works and making them available to the public.

The organisations are required to indicate the name of identified authors and other rightsholders in any use of an orphan work.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for incorporation into national law

Official Journal

Directive 2012/28/EU

28.10.2012

29.10.2014

OJ L 299, 27.10.2012

15.01.2014

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