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The Out-Of-Commerce Works Portal goes live

The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (EU) 2019/790, for which the transposition deadline for Member State expires today, addresses among other things an issue that the cultural heritage sector has been struggling with for a long time: the exploitation of out-of-commerce works. Out-of-commerce works are works (e.g. visual arts, films, books, published or unpublished, etc.) that are still protected by copyright but that are not available via any commercial channels. European libraries, archives, museums and other cultural heritage institutions currently contain millions of out-of-commerce works in their collections. Such works can still hold great cultural, scientific, educational, historical and entertainment value. In order to support the core mission of cultural heritage institutions for public interest, the Directive establishes a clear framework for the digitisation and dissemination of such works.

logo of the out-of-commerce works portal, representing a figurative Greek temple with the word doc
EUIPO European Union Intellectual Property Office

It is expected that the new framework will unlock great opportunities for the digitisation and dissemination, across Europe, of out-of-commerce works held permanently in the collections of cultural heritage institutions. These hidden treasures can then be brought to the public’s attention once again and become our shared history.

The crucial role in the new system will be played by the new Out-Of-Commerce Works Portal that has been launched today by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). This publicly accessible European online portal is the main publicity measure of this new regime. The main purpose of the portal is to provide access to information about the ongoing and future uses of out-of-commerce works. Relevant information will be recorded on the portal for the purposes of easy and effective identification of the out-of-commerce works as well as to make it easier for the rights holders of these works to exercise their rights. To learn more please visit the Out-Of-Commerce Works Portal webpage.

More information can be found in this European Union's Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) announcement.