BAAC statement on the Orphan Works directive


The European Comission has recently proposed a directive on certain permitted uses of orphan works. The full text and background materials can be found at

 The directive is an important step towards the solution of the orphan works problem. However, BAAC regrets that music and sound recordings have been totally excluded from the directive. It is our experience that orphan musical works and orphan sound recordings are just as common as orphan writings and cinematographic works from the same periods. The problem will become even more evident after the recent decision to extend the protection of sound recordings by 20 years.

 BAAC suggests that Paragraph 2 in Article 1 of the directive should be amended as follows, so that instead of certain categories of works only, the directive should cover all categories of works and sound recordings.

 2. This Directive applies to works and sound recordings first published or broadcast in a Member state and which are:

 (1)   Published works and sound recordings which are contained in the collections of publicly accessible libraries, educational establishments, museums or archives (…)

 Other Articles of the Directive should be amended in the same way.

BAAC is also concerned about the use of the term “Member States” in the Directive. According to Article 3, the search for the rightholders can only be carried out in the Member State of first publication. Because of the long term of protection, the search might involve works published as early as the 1890s, when many of the present Member States did not exist. It is important that the definition is broad enough to include all relevant cases.