Evaluating the Orphan Works Directive | Europeana Pro

“Throughout the survey, we noted that with two relatively overlapping systems in place, cultural heritage professionals are likely to use the one that provides the best solution, with the other one remaining mostly unused. We therefore recommended considering retracting the Orphan Works Directive. We also noted its clear flaws so that the same mistakes would not be repeated again. 

We noted the following: 

The diligent search for rights holders is problematic, with the sources it is mandatory to consult often irrelevant and difficult to access. Pertinent sources are sometimes not included.

The time and resources that an institution needs to dedicate to conducting a diligent search present challenges, particularly as after completing this process there is still no full guarantee that the institution will always be able to use the work lawfully. 

The very limited scope of the Directive in different types of works is a clear downside; including embedded works (for example, the multiple works contained in a scrapbook) in those whose rights holders have to be searched for makes the determination extremely time-consuming and almost impossible.  

The Directive does not provide a sufficient level of clarity regarding the compensation that rights holders can claim; this lack of clarity has strongly disincentivised cultural heritage professionals from relying on this scheme. 

The EUIPO Orphan Works database can be cumbersome when working with large datasets and is not sufficiently interoperable with the repositories of cultural heritage institutions. 

Having two overlapping schemes is likely to raise a lot of uncertainties for cultural heritage professionals, for instance when trying to assess which of the two options to rely on. The out of commerce works provisions in the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive, while tackling the same challenges, offer much better solutions and less cumbersome conditions, perhaps to a large extent given the lessons learned from the Orphan Works Directive, and we are hopeful that they will deliver their promise. …”

Public Domain and misuse: some thoughts – Pagode

“An example of this, that particularly catched the attention of PAGODE – Europeana China because it relates to a Chinese cultural heritage item, has recently come to the stage: a beautiful image of a Chinese embroidered cloth (a so-called rank-badge) depicting a leopard, in PD from the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, was recently used to illustrate the cover page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Journal, titled “Emerging infectious diseases”.

The Journal and CDC were immediately flooded with expressions of outrage and concern of many from the Asian-American community and beyond, at the inappropriate use of a Chinese work of art on the cover and tweet-posting of a journal issue devoted to scholarly articles on COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

The power of imaging should not be underestimated, as the choice of this image in such a context may suggest an emphasis on animals in China as carriers of the disease, resulting in an unvoluntary but certainly irresponsible example of using a PD digital item. The sensitivity about associating the COVID-19 crisis straightforward with China is clearly understandable, especially in America in this moment of xenophobia concerns and protests; but the explaination of CDC cuts short, by stating this is all a misunderstanding, and simply confirming that the image was chosen just for decorative purposes, being a striking piece of art – as indeed it is. At the moment, no reaction is known from the Metropolitan Museum of Arts as the content holder of the misused digital image.

The entire story is deepened in an interesting article by Hyperallergic magazine….”

Building capacity for digital transformation: how our workshops support the cultural heritage sector | Europeana Pro

“Europeana’s ‘Digital Transformation in the time of COVID-19’ workshops began this week, bringing together thought leaders in the cultural heritage sector for sense-making, scaling-up and capacity building. With the workshops underway, we share how they contribute to Europeana’s strategic priorities to build capacity for the sector and how you can follow and benefit from the work they undertake….”

Europeana Photography unlocks a vast archive of historical photography – Europeana Professional

“Europeana Photography is now launching as the outcome of a collaboration between Europeana and PHOTOCONSORTIUM, the International Consortium for Photographic Heritage. Giving access to a vast archive of historical images, it’s a treasure trove of carefully selected pictures from the first 100 years of photography. The latest thematic collection on the Europeana platform, Europeana Photography presents high-quality images and compelling stories from Europe’s most astonishing historical picture collections. Just be warned: once you’ve stepped into our time capsule, you’ll never want to leave!”

Opening up the Natural History Heritage for Europeana

“Countless natural history treasures are deposited in museums across the world, many hidden away beyond easy access. The OpenUp! project creates a free access to these resources, offering over one million items belonging to the world’s biodiversity heritage. The objects made available through OpenUp! consist of high quality images, videos and sounds, as well as natural history artworks and specimens, and also include many items previously inaccessible to visitors. Information provided through OpenUp! is checked by scientists and made available through the Europeana portal at www.europeana.eu….”