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European Commission copyright consultation/Identifiers

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Registration European Commission copyright consultation
How to improve the use and interoperability of identifiers

The European Commission is considering modernizing European copyright laws. To get feedback and input on this modernization, the Commission has published a series of questions, and is looking to interested stakeholders (like our community) to answer them. This is a vital opportunity to participate in a dialogue that could have a major impact on copyright laws and the future of the free knowledge movement. More background is available from the European Commission.

We would like to prepare a draft response here, as a collaborative experiment. If we wish to respond, it will need to be finalized before the end of January 2014 (see the proposed timeline).

Welcome to the discussion! Please help by answering the questions below.

How to improve the use and interoperability of identifiers[edit]

There are many private databases of works and other subject matter held by producers, collective management organisations, and institutions such as libraries, which are based to a greater or lesser extent on the use of (more or less) interoperable, internationally agreed ‘identifiers’. Identifiers can be compared to a reference number embedded in a work, are specific to the sector in which they have been developed[1], and identify, variously, the work itself, the owner or the contributor to a work or other subject matter. There are notable examples of where industry is undertaking actions to improve the interoperability of such identifiers and databases. The Global Repertoire Database[2] should, once operational, provide a single source of information on the ownership and control of musical works worldwide. The Linked Content Coalition[3] was established to develop building blocks for the expression and management of rights and licensing across all content and media types. It includes the development of a Rights Reference Model (RRM) – a comprehensive data model for all types of rights in all types of content. The UK Copyright Hub[4] is seeking to take such identification systems a step further, and to create a linked platform, enabling automated licensing across different sectors.

Question 19[edit]

19) What should be the role of the EU in promoting the adoption of identifiers in the content sector, and in promoting the development and interoperability of rights ownership and permissions databases?


[Open question]

  • Not a direct answer to the question, but the semantic Web has increasingly informations about the persons and the works. E.g. there are identification and databases of famous people (ISNI, VIAF, etc.) and general databases like Wikidata, DBpedia, Semanticpedia, and other databases linked together. So not sure if Europe itself should manage such a thing, but anyway there are more facility in finding works and people with these tools. ~ Seb35 [^_^] 00:07, 28 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • ...

Proposed Foundation answer[edit]

Based on the Creativity4Copyright suggestion, I propose the following answer for the official Foundation response. (I did not use User:Seb35's response because, as Seb35 admitted, it does not directly answer the question.): —LVilla (WMF) (talk) 08:41, 28 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]

If the European Union plays a role in promoting the adoption of identifiers in the content sector, it should ensure that they are based on open standards, and can be created and read by all market participants free of charge.
Any system that is developed must be developed in a true multi-stakeholder approach that includes representatives from outside the content industries, like the users who create the Wikimedia projects, and representatives of the public who benefit from out-of-copyright (Public Domain) works.


  1. E.g. the International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is used to identify recordings, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is used to identify books.
  2. You will find more information about this initiative on the following website: http://www.globalrepertoiredatabase.com/.
  3. You will find more information about this initiative (funded in part by the European Commission) on the following website: www.linkedcontentcoalition.org.
  4. You will find more information about this initiative on the following website: http://www.copyrighthub.co.uk/.