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2 minutes to read Posted on Thursday October 20, 2022

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Janina Marcinkevičienė

Janina Marcinkevičienė

Advisor to General Director , Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania

Copyright Directive Series - a closer look at Lithuania

The Copyright in the Digital Single Market (CDSM) Directive aims to harmonise certain aspects of EU Member States’ copyright legislation, and has important provisions for digital cultural heritage. Janina Marcinkevičienė tells you more about the legislative changes in Lithuania as a result of the Directive transposition.

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[Valtis audringoje jūroje. Neišaiškinto autoriaus akvarelė]
Lietuvos nacionalinė Martyno Mažvydo biblioteka

The transposition process

In late 2019, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania formed a national working group on the transposition of the provisions of the Directive. Representatives from libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions submitted a position paper to the Ministry with support from the Wikimedia Foundation and Creative Commons. In turn, a position paper reacting to the points raised by cultural heritage organisations was published by collective management organisations and publishers, which unfortunately generated more attention than the points raised by the cultural heritage sector. 

Lithuania officially completed the process of transposing the CDSM Directive on 24 March 2022, with the adoption of the draft law by the Seimas (Parliament). However, part of the provisions only entered into force in May and in June.

Text and data mining

As a result of the transposition of the text and data mining provisions into Lithuanian law, scientific research organisations and cultural heritage institutions are allowed to reproduce materials to which they have legal access in order to carry out text and data mining, as long as it is for non-commercial and research purposes. They can do this without the permission of the rightsholder and without paying any copyright royalties. Copies of works made for this purpose can be stored and retained for research purposes, including to verify research results. 

A second exception allowing anyone to conduct text and data mining was also adopted in line with the Directive, with the possibility for rightsholders to prohibit the use of their materials in this way. Overall, these provisions were incorporated in a way that is very faithful to the text of the Directive. 

Preservation of cultural heritage

The transposition of the preservation exception has resulted in an expansion of the scope of the existing preservation exception in Lithuanian copyright law. The current provision allows cultural heritage institutions to make reproductions of materials held in their ‘permanent’ collections (understood as belonging to the institution ‘by right of ownership’ or ‘transferred by right of trust’) for preservation purposes, regardless of the type of materials. 

This use is not subject to remuneration. It is possible for cultural heritage institutions to rely on third parties to create these copies. There is no limitation on the format or medium of the reproduction or on the number of copies. The right for cultural heritage organisations to make these copies cannot be removed via contract by the rightsholder. 

Digital and cross-border teaching activities

With the transposition of the CDSM Directive, current Lithuanian copyright law allows for certain uses of protected materials for teaching activities without the need for permission from the rightsholder. This is based on an exception to copyright, rather than a licence-based system. 

Under the exception, educational institutions, including university libraries and archives that take part in formal educational programmes, can reproduce, publish, make publicly available (via computer networks online) and display small-scale or short excerpts of works and their digital copies. This can be both in the original language and a translation, and only for non-commercial teaching and research purposes, and to the extent necessary for the activity. As long as the uses are under the responsibility of the educational institution, they can take place on their premises or in other places, or using a secure electronic network to which only the teachers, lecturers and students of the educational institution have access. Terms of contracts that prevent these legal uses are not valid.

Out of commerce works

Out of commerce works are works that are likely in copyright, that sit in cultural heritage collections but are no longer, or were never, available commercially. The Lithuanian copyright law now provides for a system based on a licence or an exception. The licence, granted by a collective management organisation that is sufficiently representative of the type of material and rights, allows cultural heritage institutions to make out of commerce works available online in the European Union and European Economic Area. Under the exception, ‘making available online’ is limited to Lithuania.

Both the licences and the exception should allow for the digitisation and sharing online out of commerce works, as long as they are permanently located in the collections of the cultural heritage institution.

The Lithuanian provision does not define out of commerce works beyond the text of the Directive, nor the ‘reasonable effort’ that needs to be conducted to determine that a work is out of commerce, but this might be covered in a resolution by the Government or in explanations of the Ministry of Culture. It is likely that a national database run by the National Library of Lithuania will be set up for publicity measures of out of commerce works. 

Rights holders can request that their works are not used either by initiating an opt-out procedure on the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) portal or by submitting a request to the cultural heritage institution. In that case, the institution shall evaluate the request, take the necessary steps to stop the use of the material, and inform the rightsholder within 10 working days. Applications can also be processed by a collective management organisation when material is used under a licence. Rightsholders that opt out are entitled to a one-time compensation for the use of the material, paid from government budgets, by submitting a request to an institution authorised by the Government.

The Public Domain

The public domain provision in the CDSM Directive requires that no neighbouring rights for non-original photography are claimed in digital reproductions of works of visual arts in the public domain. As a result, works of visual arts in the public domain shared digitally should be free from copyright restrictions, unless the reproduction of the work is a ‘work of art’ protected by copyright in itself. Lithuania has transposed this provision into Lithuanian law. 

Find out more

You can read more about the transposition of the CDSM Directive and copyright law in Lithuania in the Communia pages (here and here), the CIPPM page. General information about the text of the Directive is available in this explainer, in this webinar by Europeana and in this webinar by the DRI

If you would like to learn more about copyright and digital cultural heritage, join the Europeana Copyright Community and read our CDSM Directive Pro news series