Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-09-26-Speech-3-373"

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". Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the idea of a European digital library originated from six EU Heads of State and Government who wanted to allow universal access to the European cultural heritage and to preserve it for future generations. This federal project for Europe will strengthen the expression of a true European identity and help spread our cultural and linguistic diversity across the world. The project, which is without precedent for Europe, combines the past with the present and links the cultural with the digital dimension. It is the perfect response to the various issues now affecting our fellow citizens in the form of new information and communication technologies. The Internet, which is the third favourite medium of Europe’s young people, is in effect one of the main means of access to knowledge and learning. While some real progress has been made, the digitisation of our cultural resources and their bringing online nevertheless remains very fragmented and relies on the various mechanisms that have been put in place by the Member States. If they are to be effective and reach the greatest number of people the initiatives for promoting and disseminating our cultural heritage need to be well coordinated. This is the intended objective of the European digital library, which the Commission is supporting through its beacon initiative ‘i2010 digital libraries’. The first part of this initiative, namely the communication of 30 September 2005, was based on three main aspects: digitisation, online access and preservation of digital content. The Commission has set out to analyse the main technical, legal, organisational and financial challenges that a project of this scale would pose. At the same time, an online public consultation has been launched and a high-level expert group has been set up. On the basis of these different elements the Commission adopted a recommendation on digitisation, online access and digital preservation on 24 August 2006, in which it calls on the Member States to accelerate the pace of digitisation and to coordinate their efforts in order to achieve real synergy. On 13 November 2006 the Council adopted these recommendations unanimously. It is now up to the European Parliament to send a strong signal so that this exceptional project can become a reality. This undertaking is such that we need to proceed in stages. While working on the conceptual and technical organisation of all categories of cultural material, we therefore have to concentrate initially on the potential provided by the out-of-copyright text material held in libraries and to do this via a single, direct and multilingual access point. Our libraries offer the advantage of already being coordinated at European level through the TEL, the European library that was set up in 2005 by the national libraries, which holds a large stock of digital works that are in the public domain and therefore can be used immediately. As a second stage, and in order to promote the success of this tool, the library must also provide access to works of a more contemporary nature in addition to those documents that are in the public domain. Any decision in this area will inevitably have to be taken in consultation with all the parties involved. Indeed, the protection of copyright and other creative rights is vital for maintaining and protecting creativity in Europe. If this project is to achieve the success that is expected it will have to be based on a coherent economic model. The report therefore proposes, with the agreement of the copyright holders, that in the European digital library users should be able to browse the Internet to find any kind of digital documents, whatever their status, and to consult works in the public domain freely and in their entirety, whereas only short extracts would be accessible for copyright works. Beyond that, users wishing to scan through a certain work or access a protected document in its entirety would be directed to private sites specialising in secure digital dissemination, where a number of options would be open to them in return for payment of a fair remuneration to the copyright holders. Moreover, such a library needs to be organised so that it can provide access to content that is reliable and of a quality that is intended for all ages. To this effect the report calls for a steering committee to be set up in which the cultural institutions would play a major role. This committee would determine the priorities for, and the guidelines of, the European digital library, while ensuring the coordination, management and monitoring of its activities. Finally, in order to provide access to all European cultures, the other cultural institutions and sectors, including archives, museums, cinema, audiovisual arts and universities, have to be involved at each stage of the project. In this way we will shape the face of a Europe that is unified in diversity. I would like to conclude by thanking all my colleagues in the Committee on Culture and Education, especially Mr Weber and Mr Graça Moura, for their support and contribution to this report. I also wish to thank the Commission for having cooperated so effectively throughout the preparation of this document."@en1

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