German licensing service on out-of-commerce works launched

As a contribution to the digitisation of 20th century literature, the new licensing service for out-of-commerce works of the German National Library, "VW-LiS", has been launched successfully. For the first 352 titles, licences have been issued by the German RRO VG Wort in September. The German National Library can now make available these works, in digital form, on the Internet.

The licensing service, which is offered free of charge, is also aimed at other libraries and archives who wish to use out-of-commerce works from its collections in digital form. The German National Library developed this service, following negotiations with, and the practical support from, the German Library Association, as well as the German RROs VG Wort (for text-based works) and VG Bild-Kunst (for image-based works).

The service is enabled on the basis of the recent German legislation for out-of-commerce works, allowing the digitisation and making available of these works, provided that certain conditions are met. The related amendments to the German Copyright Administration Act ("Urheberrechtswahrnehmungsgesetz") from 2014 are, in turn, based on the European Commission-facilitated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed on 20 September 2011 by the relevant organisations representing stakeholders concerned (incl. IFRRO), setting out key principles on the digitisation and making available of out-of-commerce works by publicly accessible libraries and similar institutions in the EU.

More information is available on VG Wort's website.

See also the earlier IFRRO article on the related amendments to the German law, in force since 1 January 2014: http://ifrro.org/content/german-legislation-orphan-and-out-commerce-works