Mass-digitization and (extended) collective licensing: the way forward? (Stef van Gompel)

Stef van Gompel (Institute for Information Law, Amsterdam):
Mass-digitization and (extended) collective licensing: the way forward?

This presentation will discuss licensing problems associated with mass-digitization projects and how (extended) collective licensing mechanisms can provide a solution to the most pressing issues that archives, libraries and museums face when they aim to make their collections available online. While (extended) collective licensing is the most obvious and perhaps best possible solution for any large-scale rights clearance operation, especially where right owners are unknown or very difficult (if not impossible) to find, it also comes with a number of disadvantages. These include the dominant position of collective rights management organizations, their uncertain licensing mandate, and the fact that the collected royalties may not always be distributable to the relevant right owners. Nevertheless, it will be concluded that some of the disadvantages might be legally overcome and others may need to be accepted if we wish to make Europe’s cultural heritage available online.