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Stakeholders sign groundbreaking MoU on Out of Commerce Works

Submitted by jboyd on Tue, 09/20/2011 - 08:58

Maria Martin-Prat Head of Unit Services I, Directorate General Internal Market, European Commission; Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services; Magdalena Vinent, IFRRO President and Olav Stokkmo, IFRRO CEO at the signing on the MoU on Out of Commerce Works - described by Stokkmo as "pragmatic and realistic".  
Photo: Veraliah Bueno

Representatives of authors, publishers and collective management organisations in the text and image based sector, including IFRRO, and libraries came together in the presence of European Commission DG Internal Market and Services Commissioner Barnier to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the digitisation and making available of Out of Commerce works by publicly accessible cultural institutions.  The European Commission, which has facilitated the stakeholder dialogue, and largely contributed to its positive outcome, stated that it regards the MoU as an important tool for giving public access to Europe’s cultural heritage.

“As an organisation at the forefront of collective rights management in the print and publishing sector across the world, we welcome this initiative,” said IFRRO CEO, Olav Stokkmo.  “The MoU has taken a pragmatic and realistic view of how to make available Out of Commerce Works and has not been shy of addressing the real issues.  It is ground breaking  as representatives of all relevant stakeholder groups have agreed on fundamental principles to enable the making available of an essential part of European cultural heritage, and it puts collective management and the need to recognise the rights of authors (including their moral rights) and publishers at the heart of the system.”

Authors were represented by the European Writers’ Council (EWC), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the European Visual Artists (EVA), who also represents visual artists’ collective management organisations, and the publishers by the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), the European Publishers’ Council (EPC) and the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM).  IFRRO - the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations - signed as the leading international body for the collective management organisations in the print and publishing sphere, the Reproduction Rights Organisations (RROs).  On the Library side the signatories were the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA), the Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) and the Conference of European National Librarians CENL).

For further information see press releases of the European Commission and of the signatories representing authors, publishers and the collectives and the IFRRO President Magdalena Vinent’s statement at the signing ceremony.