Monday, 2 February 2009

Dutch agreement on orphan works digitization

Open Access reports that Netherlands Library Forum and the Netherlands Association of Organisations for the Collective Management of Intellectual Property Rights have issued a joint declaration on the digitization of orphan works that is a significant "step forward" for orphan works still under copyright. "Orphan works" are works whose rights holders cannot be traced. As far as is known, this is the first agreement of this type anywhere in the world between libraries and right holders. The essence of the agreement is that the libraries that are represented receive permission, on certain conditions, from virtually all right holders to digitize their collections and make them publically available on their own premises for teaching or research purposes. The libraries do not need to pay the right holders as long as the works are only made available on their own premises. Separate consent is required, however, if the digitized works are made more widely available via the Internet. In that case, an agreed payment must be made, but the library will not need to go in search of the right holders because this will be done by collecting societies.

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