Out-of-commerce Dialogue

Part of the work done in the High Level Group on Digital Libraries focused on the issues of out-of-print works. In 2008, two model licenses were drafted, and the Copyright Subgroup issued recommendations on rights clearing centres and databases.
The questionnaire of the Reflection Group on digitisation of August 2010 also covered the issue of out-of-commerce works; the European Commission started showing an interest in the subject as a further step after tackling the issue of orphan works.
Commissioner Barnier announced in June that he intended to start a round-table on the out-of-commerce issue. The initiative started in November 2010, was facilitated by the Copyright Unit of DG Internal Market and gathers national and European stakeholders from both the library and rightholders communities. Seven roundtables were ensued and on 20 September 2011 a Memorandum of Understanding on “Key Principles in the Digitisation and Making Available of Out-of-Commerce Works” was signed by all parties in the presence of Commissioner Barnier.
In March 2012, an Implementation Task Force was set up to encourage projects to take place along an action plan.

  • FEP supported the idea of having DG Internal Market coordinate a dialogue on the subject.
  • FEP has participated in the seven meetings on out-of-commerce works. FEP’s position is that out-of-commerce works are in-copyright works, therefore any initiative should respect rightholders’ discretion to digitise and make those works available online themselves; for works that they do not wish to digitise themselves and for which they do not object to making available online, voluntary agreements can be reached at a national level. This stakeholders dialogue lead to the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding on Key principles in the Digitisation and Making Available of Out-of-Commerce Works, in September 2011, by the authors, RROs, libraries and book and learned journals publishers.
  • FEP has upheld its message in a number of meetings with officials of the European Commission and with MEPs and publicised the signature of the MoU.
  • FEP has contributed to start off the implementation task force and have attended conference calls and meetings in order to trigger projects. The remit of the task-force was decided, as well as an action plan. The focus will be put on identifying the projects at national level (where they stand, etc.), namely through the Europeana network with whom FEP liaised.

MoU Resource Pool

FEP Resources Persons
• Anne Bergman-Tahon : abergman[a]fep-fee.eu
• Liv Vaisberg : lvaisberg[a]fep-fee.eu

Resources Persons
• Libraries:
Conference of European National Libraries (CENL);
European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Association (EBLIDA);
Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche (Association of European Research Libraries, LIBER))
• Authors:
European Writers Council (EWC);
European Visual Artists (EVA);
European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
• Other publishers
European Publishers Council (EPC);
International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical publishers (STM)
International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO)

Other Resources
Short introduction MoU

Norway (Bookshelf)
The Netherlands

ARROW Website