Symposium: New Approaches to the Orphan Works Problem – Programme

New Approaches to the Orphan Works Problem

New Approaches to the Orphan Works Problem: Technology, Regulation, Practices

International Symposium

23 June 2017, Executive Business Centre, Bournemouth University

Back in 2006, the US Copyright Office identified the orphan works problem as one of the major obstacles to “productive and beneficial uses” of works that have been created in the last century. These include most of our recent cultural heritage as embodied in books, journals, photographs, films, sound recordings, visual arts: a wealth of published and unpublished material that is preserved by memory institutions across the world.

The swedish book corner, by Ami Photography, 2014

In the last decade, the orphan works problem has been at the top of the cultural agenda of governments and legislators alike. Yet, despite major legislative initiatives (above all the EU Orphan Works Directive of 2012) and positive judicial treatment (the finding of fair use in favour of HathiTrust and Google Books in the US), the problem is far from being solved. The requirement of “diligent search”, as contained in orphan works legislation, is a major practical and financial hurdle. The scope of the permitted uses of orphan works under the fair use defence is uncertain. Briefly, making use of orphan works, engaging in productive and beneficial use of our recent cultural heritage, is still a costly, complex and risky activity.

The EnDOW project was launched two years ago with the aim of researching the legal instruments of “diligent search” in the EU, to turn these into an online platform that allows crowdsourced diligent search processes in order to investigate the potential application and challenges of such a platform.

This Symposium will bring together the findings of EnDOW researchers and those of fellow scholars around the world, in order to explore innovative approaches to the problem of orphan works. Technology, legal regulation and best practices will be thoroughly discussed and tested by the participants.


10.00-10.30 Registration

10.30-13.00 – Technology, law and diligent search: the EnDOW project and beyond

  • Maurizio Borghi and Marcella Favale (CIPPM, Bournemouth University): Orphan works in Europe and the EnDOW project: where we are and where do we go from here
  • Lillà Montagnani and Aura Bertoni (ASK, Bocconi University, Milan): The challenge of diligent search: a survey on 20 EU Member States
  • Kris Erickson (CREATe, University of Glasgow): Current practices in right clearance for orphan works in Europe
  • Victoria Stobo (CREATe, University of Glasgow): ’I should like you to see them some time’: an empirical study of copyright clearance costs in the digitisation of Edwin Morgan’s scrapbooks
  • Leontien Bout (Eye Institute, the Netherlands) Dealing with orphan works: a film archive’s perspective
  • Maarten Zeinstra (Kennisland): Crowdsourcing right clearance for Orphan works, the EnDOW Platform

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00-17.00 – Regulatory approaches and practices

  • Annabelle Shaw (British Film Institute): The BFI Digitisation Project
  • Meredith Jacob (American University) Best Practices in Fair Use of Collections Containing Orphan Works
  • Dan Hunter (Swinburne University of Technology): Blockchains, orphan works and the public domain
  • David Hansen (Duke University): Orphan Works in Practice: Successes and Challenges for US Cultural Heritage Institutions
  • Franck Macrez (CEIPI, University of Strasbourg): The French case: from orphan to out-of-print books (and vice versa)
  • Peter Jaszi  (American University): Orphans in America: A history of failure in public policy

17.00-17.30 Concluding remarks


Venue and accommodation

The Executive Business Centre is located in Bournemouth, at 5 minutes walk from the train and bus station. When leaving the station, head to “Town Centre” and “Seafront”. You will see the building on your left. (see directions here).

Trains from London leave at every hour (.05) and half-past hour (.35) from Waterloo Station, and take about 2 hours (direction: Weymouth or Poole). (See train times and tickets here or here).

If you arrive by car, please ask the organizers to book a parking space for you at the Executive Business Centre.

The lovely seaside resort of Bournemouth offers a broad variety of accommodation. The following are in close range from the Executive Business Centre:

The Miramar Hotel

The Green House Hotel

Ramada Encore Hotel

Best Western Hotel Royale


The event is free to attend, however spaces are limited and registration is required. Please reserve your place via Eventbrite by clicking here:




For more details and for information about travel and accommodation please email Maurizio Borghi <> or Marcella Favale <>

July 2015: EnDOW Inception

Diligent Search is an online resource designed to assist European cultural institutions engaged in digitisation of their collections. The design of the resource is currently in progress, as part of a project funded by the Joint Progamme Initiative on Cultural Heritage (see details in the box on the right and in the About page).

Once operative, Diligent Search will provide cultural institutions with a resource to carry out diligent searches of rightholders and to “crowd-source” certain phases of this process, so that they can legally digitise their collections.

‘Captivated’ by Adolphe-Alexandre Lesrel (1839–1929)

‘Captivated’ by Adolphe-Alexandre Lesrel (1839–1929)

European cultural institutions are increasingly engaged in digitisation and making available online of works and artifacts contained in their collections. Europeana, the portal of European cultural heritage, gives access to almost 50 million digital objects from libraries, museums and archives.

However, digitisation of recent cultural heritage is still undermined by the risk that copyright and related rights may still subsist in the works. Under the recent European Directive on OrphanWorks, cultural institutions are allowed to make certain uses of those works if none of the rightholders could be identified or located after having carried out a diligent search.

Legislations of each Member States determine the conditions under which such a diligent search must be carried out; in particular, national legislations determine which sources must be consulted for each category of work to locate the potential rightholders.

Diligent Search will experiment an easily accessibile, user-friendly and legally informed system to carry out diligent searches in different countries, and on different categories of works and phonograms. A beta version of the system, with limited functionalities, will be made available for testing by end 2016.

If you are interested in taking part in the beta testing and want to share your experience on diligent search with our researchers, please contact the project leader.

EnDOW Kick Off Meeting in Bournemouth

On the 1st and 2nd of July 2015 the Kick Off meeting and the Advisory Board meeting of the EnDOW Project took place in Bournemouth University. The agenda of the meeting is available here.

First, The project leader Maurizio Borghi recalled the issues with Diligent Search for Oprhan Works and the potential of crowdsourcing to address this problem (here).
Second, Marcella Favale illustrated the whole project and working packages (here).This was followed by an introduction of the Advisory Board, which took part to the general discussion on the plans and challenges ahead. A full report of the meeting is available here.