The digitisation of books is very topical at the moment.
EU Commissioner Reding is keen - e.g. in a speech on 9 July 2009, she said: "if we do not reform our European copyright rules on orphan works and libraries swiftly, digitisation and the development of attractive content offers will not take place in Europe, but on the other side of the Atlantic".
There have been quite a few developments so I thought I would put together some links relating to recent initiatives or news on this subject, particularly in the EU / UK.
- EU's i2010 digital libraries initiative page
- Europeana. The EU's digital library Europeana was launched on 20 November 2008, with the aim of digitisation and online accessibility of Europe's cultural heritage, providing access via the internet to not just digitised books but also images, music and newspapers - about 4.6 million items as at September 2009 (general info on Europeana and press pack)
- The Commission on 28 August 2009 issued a public consultation on the future of Europeana and book digitisation, open until 15 November 2009 - press release "Europe's Digital Library doubles in size but also shows EU's lack of common web copyright solution", and consultation questions
- See also Commission Communication on Europeana - next steps, 28 August 2009 COM(2009) 440 final (Word format)
- EU bookshop. On 16 October 2009 the EU launched yet another digital library, the oddly-named (as it's free) EU bookshop - effectively the free digital library of the EU Publications Office - which "offers all publications edited by the Publications Office on behalf of the EU institutions, agencies and other bodies since 1952" - see the 15 October 2009 press release "EU Bookshop Digital Library goes live - All the EU publications in one place" and Publications Office info on EU bookshop. EU Bookshop content is also to become accessible via Europeana.
- Commission Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy (and summary), 19 October 2009, "aiming to tackle the important cultural and legal challenges of mass-scale digitisation and dissemination of books, in particular of European library collections… For this, however, the EU will need to find a solution for orphan works, whose uncertain copyright status means they often cannot be digitised…" - see 19 Oct 2009 press release "European Commission puts challenges of books digitisation for authors, libraries and consumers on EU's agenda"
- Including on rights clearance systems for digitisation, digitisation by libraries, and orphan works
- Comment e.g. by Ars Technica; Euractiv; Out-law
- Creative Content in a European Digital Single Market: Challenges for the Future - "reflection" of the Commission's DG INFSO and DG MARKT on a digital single market for creative content online (i.e. on the challenge of creating a European Digital Single Market for creative content like books, music, films or video games), 22 October 2009 - press release; comments sought by 5 Jan 2010
- Events arising from the Google Book Search Settlement Agreement discussions in the EU e.g.:
- What is Commisioner Reding's view on the Google book project etc? (28 August 2009, via Quicklinks)
- "It is time for Europe to turn over a new e-leaf on digital books and copyright", Joint Statement of EU Commissioners Reding and McCreevy on the occasion the Google Books meetings, 7 September 2009 - commented on e.g. in Out-Law
- Google Books hearing: what was, and what wasn't said - Open Rights Group report, 9 September 2009
- For Google writings see Making the dream of digital libraries come true 28 August 2009 and, on the US position, e.g. Congress examines the future of digital books fron Google's Public Policy Blog of 10 September 2009 and "A library to last forever" by Sergey Brin in the New York Times on 9 October 2009.
- Commission's Green Paper on copyright in the knowledge economy, 16 July 2008
- Orphan works - "In from the Cold, An assessment of the scope of ‘Orphan Works’ and its impact on the delivery of services to the public", April 2009, report produced and funded by JISC (more info on that project)
- Commission public hearing on orphan works on 26 October 2009
- Digitisation of published works, EurActiv overview/summary of 14 October 2009
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