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EBU works towards copyright modernisation

In the first step towards much-needed copyright modernization in, the European Parliament is on the road to adopting the Directive on Orphan Works, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) reports. Orphan Works are creative works such as photographs, books, music or films, whose rights holders cannot be identified or found.

The legislative proposal defines a common approach to determining the orphan status of a work and enables users to make it available throughout Europe for purposes related to their public interest missions.

EBU says that while providing a suitable legal framework to facilitate the digitization and dissemination of works is key for Europe’s creative economy, the Directive only resolves a few very specific situations. According to the EBU, the Directive stops short of providing a genuine solution for licensing valuable television and radio archive material. 

A number of practical measures are still needed to boost Europe’s creative economy, such as technology-neutral licensing systems for the transmission of programmes in the digital environment, legal certainty for broadcasters’ online services across borders, and the cross-border recognition of national rights-management solutions.

“Public service media have all engaged in ambitious digitization plans and have invaluable radio and audiovisual archive material to bring to the public. Until now, regrettably, these archives cannot be fully released as rights clearance procedures do not take account of broadcasters’ internet-based services. The Directive on Orphan Works is the first step forward in a series of initiatives to find rights management solutions that ease the online circulation of cultural content all over Europe, and fully respect rightholders’ interests,” said Ingrid Deltenre, Director General of the EBU.

The EBU is still waiting for a solution to online rights’ licensing that takes the specific activities of broadcasters into account. The EBU believes that the recently published Proposal for a Directive on Collective Rights Management and the follow-up to the Green Paper on the Online Distribution of Audiovisual Works show European institutions’ determination to find further solutions to adapting copyright to the digital economy.