2 minutes to read Posted on Monday December 19, 2016

portrait of Paul Keller

Paul Keller

Director , Kennisland

The latest on Copyright Reform: Europeana's updated mandate

Since 2014 Europeana has been advocating on your behalf for changes to the European copyright framework that better reflect the needs of cultural heritage institutions in the digital environment. As part of this we have been argued for better copyright rules that would allow Archives, Musea and Libraries to make more of their collections available online, thereby closing the 20th century black hole. We have undertaken these advocacy activities based on the positions expressed out in Europeana's response the European Commission's public consultation on a review of the EU copyright rules.


On the 14th of September 2016 the European Commission presented its proposal for modernizing the EU copyright rules - the next step in the legislative process is for these proposals to be discussed in the European Parliament and the Council in the coming months. The proposed directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market contains proposals for addressing two of the core issues that Europeana has been working on in the past 2 years: An exception aimed at allowing digitization for preservation and a licensing mechanism for Out of Commerce Works in the collections of cultural heritage institutions.


In the light of these concrete legislative proposals the Europeana Foundation board has asked the Copyright working group of the Europeana Network to produce an updated mandate that can serve as the basis for advocacy activities of Europeana aimed at improving the commission's proposals. Over the past few weeks the copyright working group has drafted an updated mandate and last week the Members Council of the Europeana Network association has formally approved the updated mandate, which identifies the issues that Europeana should focus on and for each issue it describes an advocacy objective and recommends a level of engagement for Europeana. In total there are 12 issues that fall into four categories:

  1. Issues core to Europeana and the Network, which include the above mentioned issue of online access to out of commerce works contained in the collections of cultural heritage institutions and digitization for preservation. These two issues will remain the main focus of our advocacy efforts.
  2. Issues with direct relevance to Europeana, which include the proposed exception that would allow Text and Data mining and the proposed exception for online educational activities. In both cases Europeana will work with other stakeholders to widen the scope of the exceptions proposed by the Commission.
  3. Issues with direct relevance to members of the Europeana Network. These include the speedy implementation of the Marrakesh treaty and restoring the ability of publishers to receive compensation for uses made under exceptions. In addition Europeana will also support library organisations in efforts to improve rules regarding on document delivery and on site consultation of works held by CHIs.
  4. Issues that should be monitored by Europeana. Finally the mandate identifies a number of issues that should be monitored by Europeana, but where there is no clear need to actively intervene at this moment. These issues include the duration of copyright protection the legal definition of hyperlinks, the proposals of the commission to introduce a new ancillary copyright for press publishers and to require large UGC platforms to filter user uploaded content, and the legal status of e-lending,

You can read the full updated mandate here. While the mandate has been approved with a clear majority (of the 29 councillors who took part in the vote 2 abstained and the other 27 approved the mandate) a small number of organisations have recorded their dissent with the mandate.

All in all this signifies strong support from across the Europeana Network for the mandate, which will help us in trying to achieve our objectives over the coming months. We welcome your comments and questions on the paper - and invite you to submit these to copyright@europeana.eu

As part of these activities Europeana, together with IFLA, EBLIDA, Public Libraries 2020 and LIBER has issued a position paper with highlights the concerns that Libraries and cultural heritage institutions have with regards to the Commission's proposals.

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