Intellectual property plays a part in almost every aspect of modern life. With its strong link to innovation and creativity, IP is an important sphere for educators and students alike, and one in which the EUIPO is active, through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights. With the Out-of-commerce works portal and the Orphan Works Database, cultural heritage organisations are supported in their digitization efforts and rights holders have a possibility to search for their works being digitized.

Innovation and creativity are the future of the EU, and the Union’s cultural treasures are a vital part of its past.

Through the Out-of-commerce portal, the Orphan Works Database and its projects with educators across the Union, culture and education are important parts of the Observatory’s activities.

The Out-of-commerce portal  has been entrusted to the EUIPO on the basis of the Directive on copyright and related rights in the digital single market (EU) 2019/790, which introduces a legal framework to support cultural heritage institutions in the digitisation and dissemination, including across borders, of works that are out-of-commerce. The portal is the main publicity measure of this regime, providing access to information about the ongoing and future uses of out-of-commerce works, as well as making it easier for the right holders of these works to exercise their rights.

The out-of-commerce works regime complements the measures already in place for the use of orphan works at European Level (see notably the Orphan works Database). The Orphan Works Database has been established and is maintained by EUIPO in accordance with Article 3(6) of Directive 2012/28/EU. It provides information relating to orphan works – works protected by copyright but whose authors or other rights holders are either unknown or cannot be located. These works are contained in the collections of libraries, educational establishments and museums, archives, film or audio heritage institutions and public service broadcasting organisations in the Member States of the EU.

Through its IP in Education work, the EUIPO works with educators across the EU to facilitate the implementation of intellectual property education in schools, and to support the education community with resources on IP.