Conference – Diligent search in the EU: Challenges and opportunities

EnDOW Final Conference. Alicante (Spain) 15 May 2018

The European project ‘EnDOW: Enhancing access to 20thCentury cultural heritage through Distributed Orphan Works clearance’ will come to an end this year after three years of successful research cooperation. We would therefore like to invite you to the presentation of the results of our research at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Alicante, which is responsible for the management of the European publicly accessible online database on orphan works. A team of four partner institutions from three countries has researched the legal instruments of “diligent search” in the EU, to turn these into an online tool that allows crowdsourced diligent search processes in 20 countries. We will continue to carry out tests and research to explore the potential application and challenges of the tool.During the conference, the partners will present the findings of the project and will introduce to the use of the diligent search tool: an online resource to facilitate the process of diligent search, in compliance with the requirements of the Orphan Works Directive. The event will include discussions on legal regulation and practices, in order to explore impacts and policy implications innovative for the problem of orphan works within the EU. These are intended to support decision makers and heritage owners in managing orphan works in a sustainable way. For more information on EnDOW and for access to the diligent search platform visit diligentsearch.euTo register to the event, please use this Eventbrite link.Programme

9.00-9.30  Registration
9.30-9.45  Welcome and introduction

Paul Maier, Director of the European Observatory, EUIPO

9.45-11.15  Presenting the outcomes and impact of the EnDOW project

Maurizio Borghi: Enhancing access to orphan works in the EU: Rationale, results and legacy of EnDOW

Kris Erickson & Victoria Stobo: Archives, digitization and copyright: an inquiry into best practices of cultural heritage institutions.

Lillà Montagnani: Diligent search and access to sources across the EU

Maarten Zeinstra: Introducing the EnDOW diligent search tool


Chair: Ronan Deazley, Queen’s University Belfast

11.15-11.45 Coffee break
11.45-13.15 The orphan works policy in the EU – Roundtable

Carlos Perez-Maestro, EU Commission

Rapolas Lakavicious, EU Commission

Mathias Schindler, EU Parliament

Paul Keller, Europeana


Chair: Maurizio Borghi, Bournemouth University

13.15-13.30 Conclusion and end of conference
13.30-15.00 Lunch

Diligent search manual now available

The Diligent Search Manual is now available to assist users to carry out diligent searches using our bespoke online tool. The Manual explains the essentials of diligent search in a clear and accessible manner, so that also users with no specialized legal knowledge can complete the process requested by the Orphan Works Directive and implemented in the online tool.

The Manual has been developed by Vicky Breemen and is constantly updated.


List of sources for diligent search in 20 European countries

The Orphan Works Directive requires that Member States determine, for each category of works, the sources that beneficiary organizations must consult when carrying out a diligent search. EnDOW researchers have conducted an extensive survey on the implementation of the Directive in 20 Member States. As part of the survey, they have collected the complete list of sources that are required under the laws of 20 Member States. This gives an impressive overall number of 1,768 sources for the countries covered by the project, not all of them freely accessible to the public (for a critical examination of the sources see the summary and the complete Reports in the Resources page).

Full details on the sources for each country are available in the Annexes to the Reports 1 and 2 (see Resources)

For an overview of data for the 20 countries (decisions processes and list of sources) click here.

Click on the links below to access the sources for each country:




Czech Republic
















United Kingdom


New Approaches to the Orphan Works Problem – Event Report and pictures gallery

Crowdsourcing is one of the great innovations of the 21st century, but can it help address the issue of diligent search in the use of orphan works? … Read the full report by Hayleigh Bosher on the IPKat (with contributions from PhD researchers Emile DouilhetDukki Hong and Matej Gera)

Read the programme of the symposium held in Bournemouth on 23 June 2018 here.

See some pictures of the event here.

The presentations are available on the Resources page.


Report: Only the free accessibility of hierarchized sources will make Diligent Search workable

The orphan work exception has the purpose of facilitating the circulation of works whose authors are not known or cannot be located, to the benefit of cultural institutions, and society at large. Because the different approaches embraced by the European Member States to the recognition of the orphan work status were recognized a major obstacle, the Directive on Orphan Works of 2012 was issued with the idea of harmonising this exception to copyright law across the EU.

The study conducted by EnDOW researchers in 20 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) shows that all the examined countries have implemented the Directive nearly literally as to the beneficiary institutions, the categories of works and kinds of activities to which the exception applies.

At the same time, while the Directive mandates a Diligent Search of right-holders before any work can qualify as an orphan work, it gives to the Member States the choice about what sources should be consulted in order to meet the requirement of a Diligent Search. According to the study, all countries under scrutiny have issued or are in the process of issuing lists of sources to be consulted. However, several discrepancies emerge in regard to the appropriate sources to carry out the Diligent Search, and the ways to document it. Most of all, the absence of hierarchical validity of the appropriate sources for Diligent Search leave the clearing of rights uncertain.

In addition, the study warns that Diligent Search not only depends on the number of sources that need to be consulted, but also on their accessibility. In particular, the number of national sources shown by the study spans from a minimum of 10 (Cyprus) to a maximum of 357 (Italy), with a total of 1,768 sources for the 20 countries. As already revealed by the Report on “Requirements for Diligent Search in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Italy”, this study confirms and provides further evidence that a significant share of the sources to be consulted in order to carry out a Diligent Search is not freely accessible online. Specifically, the analysis of the sources in 20 countries reveals that the ratio of freely online accessible sources varies significantly among Member States, ranging from the 91% of Lithuania to the 36% of Poland, with an average accessibility of 63%. Moreover, some of the sources identified as “appropriate” to carry out a Diligent Search can only be consulted offline (namely on-site), and this may make the Diligent Search more resource-intensive or simply unworkable.

In conclusion, according to the study, it is advisable that each Member State would provide for a detailed non-exhaustive list of sources and the definition of internal hierarchies among the listed sources, with a diversification between compulsory and optional sources, depending on their relevance and accessibility. Moreover, the study suggests to the legislature at EU and national level to consider the introduction of the principle according to which a search must be considered diligent if all relevant freely accessible online sources have been consulted.

Report 2 and its Annexes are available from the Resource page.

EnDOW at the EUIPO Meeting with National Authorities for Orphan Works

The preliminary results of the EnDOW survey on the diligent search requirement across 20 EU member states have been presented and discussed in a Meeting organized by the European Intellectual Property Office with the Competent National Authorities for the Orphan Works Directive and the Orphan Works Database. The meeting took place on 7 December 2016 in the premises of the EUIPO in Alicante, Spain.

Risultati immagini per euipo alicante


The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the collaboration between EUIPO and competent national authorities aimed at promoting the use of the Orphan works Database, as well as the practical functioning of the Directive 2012/28/EU and the issue of the diligent searches. The European Commission and representatives of the competent national authorities of 22 Member States attended the meeting.

In his presentation, EnDOW’s project leader Maurizio Borghi discussed the key findings of the survey conducted by the EnDOW researchers on 20 member states. The survey collected evidence on the implementation of the Orphan Works Directive (including the adoption of soft law instruments), on the availability of alternative instruments for making use of orphan or out of print works, and on the sources to consult in order to perform a legally valid diligent search. The survey allowed EnDOW researchers to collect a database of around 1,400 sources across 20 member states. Interestingly – or rather worryingly – a significant proportion of those sources is not available for free consultation online, but their access is restricted in some form.

The presentation can be downloaded here.

The Report with the findings of the EnDOW survey will be soon published on the Resources page.