The Orphan Works Database

The Orphan Works Database


Sometimes it is very difficult to identify or even to contact those who hold copyright in a piece of music, a piece of literature or an audiovisual work. This makes it difficult to obtain the permission to use or disseminate the work. Such creative works use although the rightholder has not been identified or located are known as orphan works. They can be found in European libraries, museums, archives, film or audio heritage institutions. and public service broadcasting organisations. It has so far not been possible to digitise these orphan works and share them online. The Orphan Work Database is an important step on the way to giving a new life to those works all over Europe and therefore ensuring that future generations have access to our cultural heritage. After having tried to identify the copyright holder without success, each cultural, educational or broadcasting organisation sends information about their orphan works to their national authority. Each national authority then forwards this information to the Orphan Works Database. The Orphan Works Database constitutes a single harmonised point of access to information about orphan works to the cultural organisations, the possible right holders and the general public. But this is not all. Each orphan work will now be digitised so that we can ALL get access to it online.

Danny Hutson

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