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EU Approves Use of “Orphan” Work

post Thursday October 11, 2012


The EU parliament approved a directive enabling public institutions, libraries and museums to publish photographs, movies, texts and other pieces that are considered “orphan”.  “Orphan” it is described as pieces of work that have been copyrighted but whose rightful owner cannot be located.

Only when a state fails to find any information on the author, even after having conducted research that is “diligent and in good faith” on the author and his/her family, only then can the work be considered orphaned. The new directive should be adopted within the next two years.

In conducting the research, the directive specifies that the institutions should consult the appropriate sources depending on the category of the work, before they use the actual work.  The rule will be state-specific.  First, the author’s place of origin should be investigated after which it can be extended to other states if evidence is found that suggests that relevant information is available.

According to Paloma Llaneza, lawyer and IP expert, the new directive will increase the knowledge on the works that are otherwise forgotten due to unknown authors or lack of knowledge on how to market it.

The public institutions can make the works available to the public through digitization, for purposes other than profit as the financial resources obtained will be used to cover the costs that are incurred.
Should the author or the owner of a work appear (depending on the state specific rule) he/she has the right to claim their work thus ending its public availability and seek compensation.

The directive merely states that the compensation asked to the public institutions be looked at on a case by case basis, and it not be excessive. Once a work has been considered an orphan in any state of the EU, it is considered orphan in all states.

Source: El Pais

Imagr Source: Free Digital Photos

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