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European Commission


Brussels, 6 June 2012

Commissioner Michel Barnier welcomes trilogue agreement by Council and Parliament on the Orphan Works Directive

"Public libraries and museums will be able to digitise, preserve and put on-line the cultural treasures they have in their collections. European citizens will have the opportunity to access our common cultural heritage on-line, wherever they are. At the same time, creators' rights are respected. This is my vision of the digital single market," stated Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services.


Orphan works are those which are protected by copyright, but whose creators cannot be identified or found.

The new Directive on Orphan works will provide Europe's libraries, archives, film heritage institutions, public broadcasters and other organisations with a public interest mission with the appropriate legal framework to provide on-line, cross-border access to their collections, including orphan works. It is a central element of the Commission's strategy to create an enabling framework for the use of intellectual property rights in the digital single market.

Enhanced legal security will create a more favourable environment for investments in digitisation projects. This will foster the development of European digitisation projects like Europeana1, the on-line collection of millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries, archives and multi-media collections.

The Directive is the first legislative delivery of the Commission's Intellectual Property Rights Strategy, adopted in May 20112. It will now be formally adopted by both the European Parliament and the Council in the coming months before it can enter into force.

More information

See IP/11/630 and MEMO/11/333

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