Without much noise, France recently adopted Act Nr. 2012-287 of 1st March 2012 relating to the digital exploitation of unavailable books of the 20th century. Contrary to past initiatives from the French lawmaker, the Act does not relate to orphan works, but rather to out-of-commerce works. Or, more precisely: books.
According to the explanatory memorandum to the Proposal, France is the first country in the world to put in place a modern and efficient mechanism to regulate the use of unavailable works, which forms today’s biggest obstacle to the digitization of cultural heritage. The French solution is presented as offering a response to the rejected Google settlement in the United States.
On the 28 of October the European Commission adopted a Recommendation on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation. The Recommendation follows up on a similar Recommendation from 2006, updating for new developments such as the launch in 2008 of Europeana and the adoption of the Commission’s proposal for a Directive on orphan works in May 2011. The Recommendation acknowledges the importance of digitisation for making Europe’s cultural productions more widely available and thereby boosting the growth of Europe’s creative industries. It accordingly challenges Member States to step up their digitisation efforts.
On an organisational level, the [...]