EnDOW presented at Europeana Licensing Workshop in Luxembourg

The first outcomes of EnDOW project were presented and discussed at the 4th Europeana Licensing workshop in Luxembourg on the 26th and 27th November 2015. The workshop was organised by the Bibliothèque Nationale de Luxembourg, Kennisland (Amsterdam) and the Institute for Information Law (IViR) of the University of Amsterdam.

The discussion focused on the “diligent search” requirement of the Orphan Works Directive. A mayor issue arises in respect to accessibility of sources: according to our survey,  69% of the compulsory sources are freely accessibile online in the UK, but the value drops to 41% in the Netherlands and 24% in Italy. This means that performing a diligent search on works contained in library collections is overly complicated in these countries. See the presentations for more details:

  • Crowdsourcing diligent search: a solution for the orphan works problem? (Maurizio Borghi) >> download here
  • The accessibility of the sources for diligent search (Marcella Favale) >> download here

 

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Crowdsourcing diligent search: a solution for the orphan works problem?

On 29 September 2015 the Digital Catapult Centre in London hosted a one-day workshop on Copyright and orphan works, which brought together legal experts, archivists and museums curators to explore challenges and opportunities of the recently implemented orphan works legislation.

As part of the workshop, Maurizio Borghi introduced the EnDOW project and the concept of relying on crowdsourcing to reduce the costs of diligent search for cultural institutions.

The slides presentation can be downloaded here.

1_29 Sept_Maurizio_rettangolare

Crowdsourcing

Crowd-sourcing is an organization model that harnesses the power of crowds to solve problems (crowd wisdom), to fund initiatives (crowd funding), or to produce artworks (crowd creation). This model is increasingly implemented by businesses and by not-for-profit organizations. It has already produced astonishing results in the fields of information technology and biotechnology.[1]

In particular, the concept of building upon collective intelligence to perform legally binding searches of information has been successfully applied in patent law.[2] Crowd-sourced systems of prior art searches have been used by patent offices, including the US Patents and Trademark Office and the IP Australian Office. Recently the UK Intellectual Property Office has also run a pilot “peer to patent” experiment aimed at sourcing prior art investigation through observations on patent applications by the research and technology communities through the Internet. The information collected from the public helps patent examiners determining if a patent application is for a new and inventive invention. This pilot experience was judged useful and time-saving in the context of UK patent examination.[3] In a similar vein, NGOs that oppose patenting in certain fields, such as biotechnology or information technology, have relied on similar systems to search prior art capable of destroying the novelty of patent applications.[4] In the specific field of cultural heritage, a resourceful initiative by the British Library, the Mechanical Curator, enables crowd-sourced classification of images, which in turn are offered for free reutilization to users.[5]

Crowd-sourcing can help gathering information that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to collect. In particular in the field of cultural artefacts, information necessary to right clearance can be complex and dispersed in various channels. This is notably the case with the information necessary to carry out diligent searches on works, such as: who is the author, when did the author die, to whom have the rights being transferred? The relevance of this information to ascertain the legal status—in-copyright, out-of-copyright, “orphan”—varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and for categories of works, depending on the copyright duration and on the laws governing orphan and out-of-print works. The search therefore cannot be carried out without specialised legal guidance.

EnDOW draws upon diluted and dispersed information on cultural artefacts with the aim of transforming it into a reliable and legally valid source to perform diligent searches on works in order to determine their copyright status. To this end, EnDOW applies the concept of crowd-sourcing to copyright search, building on the assumption that public participation may work well in the context of cultural heritage. Mass digitisation and access to 20th Century cultural heritage will benefit first and foremost the public at large and will foster unprecedented circulation and creation of cultural products. This is a great incentive for the public to collaborate and to make this happen. In fact, collaborative user-generated platforms have already proved a successful model for culture and information sharing as the Wikipedia experience shows. On the other hand, cultural institutions have a strong incentive to participate in a programme that reduces costs of clearing rights, enhances public participation, and eventually empowers sustainable use and management of the cultural heritage items contained in their collections.

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[1] Prpic, J. and Shukla, P. (2013) ‘The Theory of Crowd Capital’, IEEE Computer Society Press, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: <http://ssrn.com/abstract=2193115>

[2] Noveck, B.S. (2006) “Peer to Patent: Collective Intelligence, Open Review, and Patent Reform’ Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 20/1.

[3] UKIPO 2012. Results of the Peer to Patent experiment are available at <http://www.ipo.gov.uk/p2p-report.pdf>, at 17 (accessed 24-09-14).

[4] Noveck 2006, supra n. 29.

[5] <https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary> (last accessed September 2014).