what was at stake
green position
what we achieved
what we did not achieve

On certain permitted uses of orphan works

Orphan works are creative works abandoned by their rights holders but still protected by copyright.

In legal terms, this means they cannot be accessed by anybody unwilling to take the residual risk of entering into a legal dispute about the ownership of the works in question.

Since public libraries, museums and educational establishments do not normally take such risks, orphan works cannot be mass digitised and made available to promote scientific progress and cultural, social and economic development.

The aim of the Directive is to create a legal way of accessing them.


What was the Greens' position?

The Greens believe that the European harmonisation of how orphan works are handled would be beneficial and should cover all kinds of such works.

To achieve this harmonisation, national legislation should take on board EU rules governing orphan works.

In our view, a Directive on orphan works should also provide legal security for any persons or institutions using orphan works in the event that copyright holders resurface after the work has been made public.


Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?
The Greens succeeded in securing majority support for our demand that the scope of the Orphan Works Directive be extended to include sound recordings and audio heritage.


Which points did the Greens lose?

The Greens were unable to muster majority support for our demand regarding legal certainty for the users of orphan works.

A majority of MEPs also voted in favour of national solutions to orphan works management, so no real harmonisation will be attained.

Consequently we doubt whether the Directive will provide greater access to orphan works.


Procedure:Ordinary legislative procedure


Lead MEP:Lidia Geringer De Oedenberg (S&D)


Staff contact:Erik Josefsson (Email)

Outcome of the vote
Below you find the results of the final vote in plenary. How did the political groups vote? What about national delegations? And what was the position of your MEP?