Copyright – Democratic by Desing

LibrariesCD carrierslibraries

Digitisation has transformed our world. Information is made available over the Internet and we carry the world in our pockets. On the other hand, the greater part of access to libraries is limited in terms of time and space. It is clear that digital access to knowledge is possible, so why do national libraries have such a sparse Internet presence? A library that wants to digitise the collection and make it publicly available over the Internet must clear any copyright-protected works. Clearing one work at a time is not only impractical, it’s impossible. The problem facing the libraries is that it is not possible to identify all rights holders and obtain their approval for the digitisation and public availability. In Sweden stakeholders came to an agreement more than 50 years ago – The Swedish Model, i.e. Extended Collective Licensing (ECL). Abroad copyright in this field stagnated and the stakeholders saw themselves entrenched in positions. Sweden opted for the middle way, as did the rest of Scandinavia, and solved for more than 50 years the copyright conundrum by introducing Copyright Democratic in Design. The Swedish model has appealed to EU, which has now introduced ECL in a Proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market. This alone provides evidence that the Swedish Model is still more than 50 years since valid in the 21st century.