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More resources needed for Europeana on-line library

Press release by the European Parlement

“The EU’s on-line library, museum and archive – Europeana – needs content from more Member States and further EU funding, according to MEPs. Access to the portal’s material without downloading should be free but copyright must be respected, says a resolution adopted by Parliament on Wednesday.
Online since November 2008, Europeana now contains about 7 million digitised works, including books, maps, film clips and photographs. Almost half of the contributions to it (47%) come from France; other big contributors are Germany (16%), the Netherlands (8%), and the UK (8%). In 2011 will be more multilingual and include semantic web features. The Europeana office is hosted by the Dutch Royal Library in The Hague.

More contributions and funding needed

MEPs support the goal of having 10 million objects in Europeana by this June and call for a target of at least 15 million by 2015. They urge governments and cultural institutions to speed up digitisation and provide more files, especially audiovisual material, “paying special attention to those works which deteriorate easily”. The resolution urges the Commission and Member States to make Europeana “one of the main reference points for education and research purposes”.
While encouraging public-private partnerships, MEPs also argue that a substantial part of the costs of digitisation should be covered by a separate budget line in the next EU long-term budget after 2013. MEPs also propose a funding and advertising campaign entitled “Join Europeana”.

Copyright and access

At the same time, Europeana should fully respect intellectual property rights, although without creating any new copyright or privatising access to digital content, stress MEPs. According to the resolution, “access to the Europeana portal and viewing documents without downloading must be free of charge for private individuals and public institutions” and any charges for downloads and printouts of copyright materials “should be socially acceptable”. MEPs also stress that “the portal should take into account the needs of disabled people”.
According to the EP, Europeana should be able to offer in-copyright as well as out-of-print and orphan works (whose authors cannot be identified), for example, through extended collective licensing. MEPs “endorse the Commission’s intention to establish a simple and cost-efficient rights clearance system” working in close co-operation with all the stakeholders. They also call on the Commission to introduce a legislative proposal on the digitisation, preservation and dissemination of orphan works, and to develop their database.”