Feeds

EU consults on problems of digitising libraries

Sorting out the scanner-inners

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

The European Commission will conduct a consultation on how best to operate a digital library of Europe's scanned-in books. Unlike Google's controversial digitisation programme, the EU's existing digital library does not scan in copyrighted works.

Google has caused worldwide consternation amongst authors and representative groups with its Google Books project, which is scanning in the contents of entire libraries. It has already scanned in 10 million books, many of which are still protected by copyright law.

The EU's digital library project, Europeana, has scanned in 4.6 million items, including maps, photos and films as well as books. It does not yet, though, normally scan out of print or orphaned works that are still protected by copyright.

Google has signed a controversial deal in the US with the Authors' Guild that allows it to scan copyright materials in the US. It has no such deal in the EU and so does not scan copyrighted works in Europe.

The Commission wants to hear the views of industry and the public on how it should operate its €3 million per year Europeana project.

"Questions the Commission asks include: How can it be ensured that digitised material can be made available to consumers EU-wide? Should there be better cooperation with publishers with regard to in-copyright material? Would it be a good idea to create European registries for orphan and out-of print works? How should Europeana be financed in the long term?" said the Commission in a statement announcing the consultation.

Critics of Google's book-scanning project have argued that it should be public bodies such as the European Commission that scan, hold and take charge of books and not a private company.

But Europeana has been hampered by its inability to scan in copyrighted works. It is estimated that most published work is still copyright protected and that, for example, 32 of the 40 million books in US libraries are still protected by copyright.

"Europeana … shows that licensing of copyright-protected material in Europe still takes place under a very fragmented legal framework," said a Commission statement. "Europeana includes, for legal reasons, neither out-of print works (some 90 per cent of the books in Europe's national libraries), nor orphan works (estimated at 10 – 20 per cent of in-copyright collections) which are still in copyright but where the author cannot be identified."

Commission data shows that 47 per cent of the material on Europeana has come from France, and another 15 per cent from Germany. The UK and the Netherlands, at 8% each, are the next biggest contributors.

Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding said that it was important that individual countries made sure that their publications were being digitised.

"The digitisation of books is a Herculean task but also opens up cultural content to millions of citizens in Europe and beyond. This is why I welcome first efforts made by Member States and their cultural institutions to fill the shelves of Europe's digital library,” she said. "However, I find it alarming that only 5 per cent of all digitised books in the EU are available on Europeana."

"Member States must stop envying progress made in other continents and finally do their own homework. It also shows that Europeana alone will not suffice to put Europe on the digital map of the world. We need to work better together to make Europe's copyright framework fit for the digital age," she said.

The consultation runs until 15 November. See: The consultation (3-page/15KB PDF)

Copyright © 2009, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.