May 24, 2022

Digitization: Advocate General of EU Court of Justice Backs Libraries’ Right to Digitise

From a Summary/News Release:

“In today’s opinion, Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen considers, first of all, that, even if the rightholder offers to a library the possibility of concluding licencing agreements for the use of his works on appropriate terms, the library may avail itself of the exception provided for in favour of dedicated terminals. In Mr Jääskinen’s view, it is only when such a contract has already been concluded that the library may no longer avail itself of the exception.”

Next, the Advocate General considers that the directive does not prevent Member States from granting libraries the right to digitise the books from their collections, if their being made available to the public by dedicated terminals requires it. That may be the case where it is necessary to protect original works which, although still covered by copyright, are old, fragile or rare. That may also be the case where the work in question is consulted by a large number of students and its photocopying might result in disproportionate wear.

Lastly, Mr Jääskinen takes the view that the directive does not allow the users of dedicated terminals to save the works made available to them on a USB stick. He notes in particular that the exception provided for in favour of dedicated terminals previously constitutes an exception to the rightholder’s exclusive right of communication.

Direct to Full Text of Summary/News Release

Direct to Full Text of Opinion
As of 6/5/2014, 8am EDST English language version not yet posted. Versions in other EU languages available.

Hat Tip and Additional Coverage: Managing IP

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.