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Digitisation of out-of-commerce works: Framework agreement signed, clearing office being set up

Press release:  February 16, 2015

The German legislator introduced new rules for handling out-of-commerce works on 1.4.14: under these, works published in Germany before 1966 can, under certain conditions, be licensed for digitisation and public accessibility. The precondition for this is a licence agreement with the relevant collecting society (VG WORT/VG Bild-Kunst) and an entry in the register of the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA).

The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany and the Verwertungsgesellschaften (collecting societies) have now laid down the costs of licensing and other terms in a framework agreement.
The major part of German National Library’s (DNB) collections stems from the 20th century, accordingly it has a vital interest in making use of this newly created opportunity. It is currently setting up a service intended to help privileged institutions research out-of-commerce works and request their licencing via the relevant Verwertungsgesellschaft. The library receives, checks and forwards the licensing requests. The service will be presented at the Convention of German Librarians in May 2015 and will be available for use from July 2015.

Background

The German National Library is the central archiving library and national bibliography centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Besides offering use of its collections at the Leipzig and Frankfurt sites, the German National Library also provides services for libraries, the book trade and scientific institutions, plus a large number of other individual services via the Internet.

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