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Orphan works

Directive 2012/28/EU

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on certain permitted uses of orphan works

Directive 2012/28/EU sets out common rules on the digitisation and online display of so-called orphan works. Orphan works are works like books, newspaper and magazine articles and films that are still protected by copyright but whose authors or other rightholders are not known or cannot be located or contacted to obtain copyright permissions. Orphan works are part of the collections held by European libraries that might remain untouched without common rules to make their digitisation and online display legally possible.

Online EU-wide database for Orphan Works

The online EU-wide database for Orphan Works provides for a single harmonized point of access to information about orphan works for beneficiary organisations, right holders and the general public. The database has been established and is managed by the by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) on the basis of the Directive 2012/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on certain permitted uses of orphan works. It will contain information about the orphan works, the organisation that wants to use the work, the projects in which the works will be used etc. The database will enable organisations that are carrying out diligent searches and rightholders easily to access such information. By enabling potential rightholders to claim their rights in works, the database could also play an important role in preventing and bringing to an end possible copyright infringements.

More information about the database can be found in the OHIM press release and on the web site of the OHIM.

Public consultations and hearings

Public Hearing on Orphan Works (26.10.2009)

The aim of this hearing was to gather further evidence on orphan works and how their digitisation and dissemination can best be managed in full respect of copyright rules. This hearing was a follow-up to the Green Paper on Copyright in the Knowledge Economypdf Choose translations of the previous link  (COM(2008) 466/3).

Information hearing on the “Google Book Settlement Agreement” (07.09.2009)

On September 7, 2009, the European Commission organised a hearing on the effect of the Google Book US Settlement Agreement in the European Union.

  • More information
  • “It is time for Europe to turn over a new e-leaf on digital books and copyright” (MEMO/09/376 Choose translations of the previous link )
    Joint Statement of EU Commissioners Reding and McCreevy on the occasion the information hearing.