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Out-of-commerce works

Memorandum of Understanding

The aim of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Key Principles on the Digitisation and Making Available of Out-of-Commerce Works is to facilitate the digitisation and making available by European libraries and similar institutions of books and learned journals in their collections which are out-of-commerce. The MoU will serve as a blueprint for collective licensing agreements negotiated amongst rightholders, libraries and collecting societies.

The MoU is a result of a Stakeholder Dialogue which was launched in November 2010. It forms part of the Commission's overall objectives in the Digital Agenda for Europe and the Strategy on Intellectual Property Rights to further the development of digital libraries in Europe and provide the widest possible access to our cultural heritage. The Stakeholder Dialogue brought together representatives of the right-holders community (publishers and authors), libraries and collecting societies.

Out-of-commerce works are works that are still protected by copyright but are no longer available in customary channels of commerce. The MoU deals specifically with books and learned journals. The Key Principles contained in the MoU will encourage and underpin voluntary licensing agreements to allow cultural institutions to digitise and make available online these type of works while fully respecting copyright.