In a written submission, on the invitation of the Reflection Group of the European Commission on Boosting cultural Heritage online in Europe set up by Commissioners Neelie Kroes and Androulla Vassiliou, the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO) recommends some basic guidelines aimed at facilitating the licensing Out of Print Works (OPW). There are lots of reasons why a work may not be in stock or available in tangible copies. One shouldn’t therefore automatically conclude either that the rightholders do not intend to commercialise it or that, even if they don’t, that they could have no objections to copies being made available. The key is to respect the author’s and publisher’s wishes on whether or not his work should be exploited commercially and to seek an appropriate license.
IFRRO supports initiatives to preserve cultural heritage, and IFRRO and its membership assist authors and publishers in their collaborative efforts to realise EUROPEANA and the European digital libraries. In this respect IFRRO stresses the need for pragmatic solutions, transparency and an active dialogue with creators and publishers when plans are being made to digitise works and make them available to the public.
IFRRO has also partnered creators, publishers, libraries and their organisations in the Accessible Registries of Rights Information and Orphan Works (ARROW) project. The aim of ARROW is to enable libraries as well as other users to obtain information on who are the pertinent creators and publishers or other righholders, which are the relevant rights concerned, who owns and administers them and how, where they can seek permission to digitise and / or make available the work and on orphan works.
The ARROW project and the IFRRO Guidelines on facilitating Out of Print Works licensing are prime examples of how voluntary, stakeholder dialogues can produce effective solutions.