Brussels, 18 April 2007
[Graphic in PDF & Word format]
The EU's High Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries - which includes, inter alia, stakeholders from the British Library, the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, the Federation of European Publishers and Google - will present this afternoon an advisory report on copyright issues to the European Commission. In addition, the group will discuss today how to ensure more open access to scientific research and how to improve public-private cooperation. The work of the High Level Group is part of the European Commission's efforts to make Europe's rich cultural and scientific heritage available online. For this purpose, the group advises the Commission on issues regarding digitisation, online accessibility and digital preservation of cultural material.
"Protection of intellectual property is important to stimulate creativity and innovation in the knowledge-based economy. Solving copyright issues in an online-environment is therefore crucial if we are to make the vision of a European Digital Library a reality", said Viviane Reding, the EU's Commissioner for Information Society and Media who founded the High Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries a year ago. "I will therefore look with great interest into the recommendations made by the High Level Group to see in which way the European Commission, the Member States and the relevant stakeholders could best follow them up. After the discussions so far, for me an approach based on wide-spread agreements between libraries and rightholders looks promising if they manage to make the user interests a priority."
The report on copyright to be presented by the Digital Library Experts today is expected to point to voluntary agreements between libraries and rightholders that would facilitate work on digital preservation, orphan and out of print works. In the case of orphan works, for example, where rightholders cannot be identified or located, agreed solutions could support libraries, museums and archives to better exploit the benefits of information technology to carry out their preservation and dissemination mandates. In their response to the Commission's online consultation in 2006, the British Library indicated that it spends a vast amount of time dealing with permissions, and in many instances does not even start the permissions process as the rightholders are either unidentifiable or too many to make the process effective.
The expert group also will open the debate on how best to promote and to make
use of public-private cooperation and private sponsorship for the digitisation
of Europe's cultural heritage.
The Report on Digital Preservation, Orphan Works and Out-of-Print Works, Selected Implementation Issues of the High Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries will be published from 16:30 today on the Commission's Digital Libraries website at:
A list of the members of the Commission's High Level Group on Digital
Libraries attending today's expert meeting is attached.
Members of the High Level Group on Digital Libraries attending the meeting with Commissioner Viviane Reding on 18 April 2007