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 – Room EB708

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heritage as embodied in books, journals, photographs, films, sound recordings, visual arts: a wealth of published and unpublished material that is preserved by memory institutions across the world.

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.

Event report and pictures

>> Available here


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 (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 <>