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The Dream of a Virtual European Digital Library – Will CC Licensing Play a Role?

Mia Garlick, April 24th, 2006

The European Commission is investigating a digital libraries initiative that “aims at making European information resources easier and more interesting to use in an online environment.” As part of a background paper, the Commission discussed the range of technical, legal, operational and financial challenges such an initiative would encounter and specifically noted that Creative Commons licenses provide an example of “[v]oluntary sharing of content that can have an important place in shaping the common information sphere.” (at p13)

As part of its investigation into the feasibility of a virtual European Library, the Commission conducted an online consultation which had questions ranging from topics such as digitisation and online accessibility, orphan works, public domain materials and digital preservation issues. Creative Commons submitted comments, as did some 200 other organizations. CC licensing was mentioned in as many as 60 different comments.

The Commission has now released an overview of the results of its online consulation in English, in French and in German. Creative Commons licensing is mentioned in the overview as one of the suggested measures to enable accessibility to copyrighted materials whilst also respecting the legitimate interests of the author and as a means to render more transparent and widely known the availability of public domain and other material to facilitate its subsequent use.

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