Photo: Veraliah Bueno

ARROW Plus final conference

As the ARROW Plus project comes to an end in 2013, a final conference took place on Thursday, 4th of December in Brussels. The event was the occasion to offer an update of the project achievements and give a glance to the future of the only available tool in the market for automated rights clearance searches: the ARROW system. The welcome and introduction notes were delivered by Olav Stokkmo, CEO of the International Federation or Reproductions Rights Organisations (IFRRO)

While Anne Bergman and Enrico Turrin, director and deputy director respectively of the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), explained to the audience the work dynamic behind the ARROW Plus project; Carola Streul, Secretary General of the European Visual Artists (EVA), centered her contribution to the conference around the feasibility study on diligent search of image rights that was carried out during the project. She also explained that even though rights clearance of images could not be included in the ARROW system workflow, the study has provided relevant information and recommendations on aspects to be considered in the near future in the image sector.

In his turn, Marco Giorello, Deputy Head of Unit, DG Markt at the European Commission, explained that one of the priorities of the European Commission during the past years has been to put together different instruments like the Orphan Works Directive, the Memorandum of Understanding, and also ARROW. He also explained that the EC is streamlining licences for the use of cultural heritage and that the EC is also present in the Orphan Works Directive implementation process. Giorello referred as well to the database on Orphan Works to be established by the OHIM. The database will allow cultural institutions to put online information on digitised orphan works, as well as information on the uses of such works. This will mean more transparency for the users of orphan works.

Marco Giorello also explained that the EC expects that by the time that Directive is fully implemented, the whole system will be ready. In addition he said that even when digitisation processes are not going as fast as the EC had hoped or expected, one of the main ideas of the EC is that all these European digitisation projects should not be the limits of the whole process carried out by the Commission. Finally, Giorello highlighted that it is time to launch a debate at EU level to give related solutions cross-border effect, and stated that the EC will launch a consultation on the future of copyright, and that it will include the topics that were discussed at the conference.

Jill Cousins, Executive Director of EUROPEANA addressed the conference attendees by highlighting the importance of making available European cultural heritage, and offered an overview of the work done so far by EUROPENA. She also expressed the view that ARROW is an important tool in what she described as a “black hole” when clearing rights to make works available.

To offer an overview of the French digitisation project that followed the legislation of 2012 and that intends to digitise and make available out-of-commerce works published before 2001, Christian Roblin, CEO of the Société Française des Intérêts des Auteurs de l’Ecrit (SOFIA), explained the work carried out by his organisation when working in collaboration with the Bibliotèque National de France (BNF) and more specifically with the Registre des Livres Indisponibles en Réédition Électronique (ReLIRE), and how SOFIA will compensate rights holders involved in this digitisation project. To explain the project from the National Library (BNF) point of view, Juliette Dutour, Chef du Projet of ReLIRE presented a general scope of the law, the stakeholders of the project and the mission of the BNF. Dutour explained that while the first set of 50,000 out-of-commerce books was published on 21 March 2013, the coming list, to be published on 21 March 2014, will be released in cooperation with ARROW (which went live in France on 4 December 2013. Paola Mazzucchi from AIE, complemented Dutour’s presentation by explaining the work process that has been taking place between the BNF and ARROW.

Paola Mazzucchi and Piero Attanasio from AIE, the organisation responsible for the ARROW Plus project coordination, listed the achievements, enhancements and the extent reached during the ARROW Plus project. While during the lifespan of the ARROW project 4 countries implemented the system fully, during ARROW Plus, 5 more countries have now the system in place. ARROW plus delivers then 9 countries where the system is completely implemented and additional 7 countries in an advanced implementation stage.

The ARROW system not only is a unique automated tool to assist rights clearance, but it also is the most authoritative source of information given the databases that it queries. The ARROW system is also a flexible and easy to use tool that can assist in medium to large digitisation projects and it is also able to deal with requests coming from public and private sectors. ARROW can also be used to do public domain calculations.

Piero Attanasio offered a brief glance at the future of the system by explaining the consolidation of the ARROW association. Attanasio highlighted the value that underlies the ARROW system: the network, the expertise and the reputation that were built over the last 5 years.

In closing the conference Olav Stokkmo concluded that ARROW works.

The presentations given at the conference are available here:
Jill Cousins, EUROPEANA
Christian Roblin, SOFIA
Juliette Dutour, ReLIRE (BNF)
Paola Mazzuchi and Piero Attanasio, AIE

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