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

Dealing with Orphan Works: a study on best practices of Cultural Heritage Institutions

The Study on Current Best Practices among Cultural Heritage Institutions when Dealing with Copyright Orphan Works, released today by EnDOW researchers Victoria Stobo, Kris Erickson, Aura Bertoni and Flavia Guerrieri, provides a baseline understanding of current practice in relation to copyright, orphan works, diligent search and rights clearance. The results provide also a benchmark against which to evaluate crowdsourcing (and indeed any other proposal) to address the challenge posed by orphan works. Respondents at 15 CHIs across the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Italy were interviewed, including the national library, the national archive and the national film archive. Qualitative and quantitative data was gathered about the institutions, their collections, their diligent search processes, the results rights clearance for specific digitization projects, their thoughts on the potential of crowd-sourcing as a solution, and their views on the current legislative framework.

The Study shows that:

There is wide variance in the level of readiness to engage with orphan works across the CHI sector

  • Rights clearance remains expensive and ranges considerably depending on the nature of the work and the approach taken by the institution
  • There is continued uncertainty regarding the scope of the Orphan Works Directive and the diligent search requirements
  • Views on these uncertainties differ across institutions, suggesting that when interpretation of the legislation diverges, different institutions will implement the legislation in different ways, and best practices will diverge accordingly
  • The decision to engage with the EU orphan works exception or, in the case of the UK, with the Orphan Works Licensing Scheme, was frequently expressed as an economic calculus.

To succeed, crowdsourcing must do two things: firstly, offer increased benefits to institutions beyond current practices, and secondly, avoid imposing unreasonable knowledge or integration costs on the institutions involved. Readiness to engage in crowdsourcing diligent search is influenced by these economic factors, but also partially by reputational concerns. Some respondents voiced scepticism that crowd-generated diligent searches would adequately withstand external scrutiny, and preferred to maintain control over decisions about orphan work status for that reason. However, other participants responded positively to the concept, suggesting potential volunteers, and emphasizing the positive aspects of rights research and the impact it can have in CHIs and on users.

>> Download here the EnDOW Report on Current Best Practices

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.

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 <>

Launch of the ‘Digitising the Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks’ Project

CREATe organized two events on Friday 20th January 2017 to launch the Digitising the Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks Project: a free training event about digitising photographs and the launch of the web resource. The collection of Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks – a unique and culturally significant mixed-media collection of artistic work from the early to mid-twentieth century – is one of the case studies selected by EnDOW researchers Kris Erickson and Victoria Stobo will carry out right clearance simulations.

Read more on CREATe blog…

EnDOW Progress Meeting in Glasgow

The third progress meeting of EnDOW was organized by CREATe at the University of Glasgow, on 19-20 January 2017. The agenda covered, among other things, the consolidation of the analysis of diligent search in 20 countries and the final draft of the flowcharts of operations for the EnDOW digital platform, which will be in operation in the next months and will be officially presented in June.

The minutes of the meeting are available here.

The EnDOW team at the meeting in Glasgow: all wearing the official Tartan of CREATe 

“With Enough Eyeballs All Searches Are Diligent”. Article by EnDOW researchers

EnDOW researchers Kris Erickson, Marcella Favale and Maurizio Borghi have published “With Enough Eyeballs All Searches Are Diligent: Mobilizing the Crowd in Copyright Clearance for Mass Digitization” in the Chicago-Kent Journal of Intellectual Property (vol. 16, issue 1, 2016).

The article presents the conceptual framework that is at the basis of EnDOW and discusses the various dimensions of crowdsourcing as applied to diligent search for orphan works. The abstract of the article reads:

Digitization of 20th Century cultural heritage is severely restricted due to the real or potential subsistence of copyright and related rights. Under the laws on orphan works introduced in many countries, items whose copyright status is uncertain may possibly be lawfully digitized, on condition that a “diligent search” of the copyright owners has been performed. However, carrying out diligent searches on large collections is a lengthy and expensive process, which may discourage institutional users from embarking on large-scale digitization. While the problem of performing diligent searches has been so far approached in a “centralized” manner by individual institutions, the article suggests a de-centralized approach based on crowdsourcing certain phases of the diligent search process. The proposed solution may alleviate the problem of the high costs of diligent search, and may ultimately enable cultural heritage institutions to take full advantage of the orphan works legislation. Suitability of the crowdsourcing solution to the cultural heritage sector is discussed and challenges to implementation are identified.

The article can be downloaded here.