How Europe’s Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions are boosted by the new Copyright Directive
News | Museum Management | EU Culture Policy | Museums in a Digital World | Copyrights |

On 26 March 2019, the European Parliament voted to adopt the Copyright in the Digital Market Directive. Some clear benefits for museums and cultural heritage institutions can be identified. The EU Member States have two years to adopt the measures into national law.

Almost five years have passed while the parliament has discussed the modernisations of EU’s copyright framework. The new directive will facilitate (mass) digitisation of commerce works, enable institutions to text and data mine works in their collections and ensure that digital copies of public domain works will remain in the public domain. 

Europeana summarizes that the new Copyright Directive will result in the following changes for cultural heritage institutions:

  • In those Member States where this is not the case yet, cultural heritage institutions will be allowed to make digital reproductions of all works in their collections for preservation purposes (note that this does not mean that these works can also be made available online) - Article 6 of the directive.
  • In all Member States, cultural heritage institutions (as well as research organisations) will benefit from a text and data mining exception that will allow them to employ computational analysis techniques on works in their collections for the purpose of scientific research - Article 3 of the directive.
  • In all Member States, cultural heritage institutions will be allowed to digitise and make available online in-copyright but out-of-commerce works. Depending on the types of collections in question they will be able to do so on the basis of licenses issued by collective management organisations or where such organisations do not exist or are not sufficiently representative under a new exception to copyright - Articles 8-11 of the directive.
  • Member States will also have the ability to introduce extended collective licensing systems that go beyond the narrow category of out of commerce works. In some Member States, this may result in systems that allow institutions to digitise and make available all of their collections via a single license. For now, such licenses will will be limited to individual member states and not allow cross border access to the digitised works - Article 12 of the directive.
  • Finally, those Member States in which it is currently possible to claim new rights over reproductions of public domain works will need to change their laws to stop such practices.This means that 10 years after we have issued our Public Domain Charter the principle that what is in the public domain in analogue form stays in the public domain in digital has become enshrined in law - Article 14 of the directive.