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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday November 18, 2016

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Julia Fallon

Julia Fallon

Community and Partner Engagement Manager , Europeana Foundation

AGM recap: Working towards better copyright rules for Cultural Heritage Institutions

What is happening with copyright reform? And what do Network Members have to say about what it means to them? To answer some these questions we held a copyright panel session at the AGM. I want to share the contributions made, and give a short recap of the session we held.

Before we do that - I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to share your views on copyright reform with us, and with your networks. This is an important issue that we will be talking to you more about in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you have a question for our panelists you can ask them on Twitter - or ask us at @EuropeanaIPR

Paul Keller hosted the session and opened by encouraging us to celebrate! The Cultural heritage demands have been heard and are reflected in the Commission proposals. Whilst this a lot more work to do, this is a huge achievement and something we should all be proud to have been part of.

Taking a closer look at the commission proposals, Paul shared a short but sweet overview of our developing analysis on each of the four main areas of interest for Network Members:

  • Preservation of cultural works: mainly ok
  • Use of Out of Commerce works: not good enough, will not work as is
  • E-lending and remote access: missing in action
  • Text & Data Mining + Education: not good enough

Following this, our panel of representatives from across Europe’s cultural heritage institutions took turns to share their the perspectives on the copyright proposals, and how it affects their institutions.

Fred Truyen, Photoconsortium;

  • Communities have a cultural right to access their heritage and engage with it, this goes beyond copyrights who are based solely on the individual. This means cultural rights can open up and put in a broader context the copyright discussions.
  • We need a better solution for Orphan works. Most of those works were not created by a professional photographer and were never intended for commercial use. There is no economic stake that has to be protected. What is at stake here are rather issues of privacy and moral rights (people are concerned about respectful treatment of their family heritage). The current regulation is not helpful and doesn't help to unlock masses of very relevant documents currently held in archives.
  • New communities in Europe are now part of the European narrative and they want to engage with collections, eg. those on colonial history. Open access could give them the tools necessary to do so and by this way participate more actively in telling the new stories of Europe.

Ask Fred a question or share your viwes with him at @FredTruyen

Liam Wyatt, Wikipedia;

From the Wikimedia "Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU";

  • Include a mandatory Freedom of Panorama exception.
  • Include a “no new protection on digitisations” clarification.
  • A text and data mining exception that benefits journalists and start-ups.
  • Maintain intermediary liability protection for online platforms.
  • Seriously consider the risks of a related right for press publishers

You can see more infomation, including contact details and full documents at;

Ask Liam a question or share your views with him at @Wittylama

Emmanuelle Bermes, Bibliothèque nationale de France;

  • Copyright, a sensitive matter
    • even if (digital) libraries' mission is to make culture widely accessible, they should also contribute to a sustainable production chain for cultural contents
    • you cannot transform the world with culture if producing culture is no longer a source of income for artists, writers and other stakeholders
      • => need for a balanced position
  • Potential issues with Europeana's advocacy on copyright matters
    • different situation in different countries or networks
    • advocacy can create hurdles in negotiations on other topics (e.g. Legal deposit)
    • CHIs may find themselves endorsing through Europeana positions that are conflicting with their government / ministry
    • such conflicting situations may lead CHIs to refrain from participating in some of the network's activities

Ask Emmanuelle a question or share your views with her at @figoblog

Erik Buelinckx, Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA)

  • Europeana consists of different groups with different opinions/goals/agenda's/needs regarding copyright
  • Cultural heritage institutions are not good in lobbying at EU-level, so we depend on Europeana
  • How can we make sure (do we) that cultural heritage institutions feel enough represented by Europeana

Ask Erik a question or share your views with him at @ErikBuelinckx

Antje Schmidt, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG)

  • Museums hold vast amounts of Out of Commerce works without a known rightsholder, that are not commercially exploited anymore or never have been intended to be.
  • Curators and museum employees should use time to identify creator of works of art/objects not to identify rightsholders of OoC works.
  • ECL won't work, because there is no tradition for ECL in Germany for this kind of non-art collections and would keep the process complicated rather than simplify it.
  • Only possibility that will lead to any significant results in the museum sector is an exception based approach for OoC works.

Ask Antje a question or share your views with her at @_AntjeSchmidt

Taken together the presentations made it clear that copyright is still one of the most important hurdles for our sector to overcome in our efforts to provide universal access to our collections. In this light it is not surprising that Europeana Network has emerged as an important stakeholder and can make important contributions to the EU copyright reform process. In doing so we need to recognise our internal diversity as one of the assets that we can contribute to that discussion.

Join the conversation at @europeanaIPR