About DYR

DYR – Declare Your Rights – is a service by the University of Innsbruck which is to be tested within the framework of the ARROW EU project. The aim is to ascertain how many right holders of so called orphan works – in this case dissertations – can be located with moderate effort and are prepared to submit a declaration regarding the usage rights to their works. The results of this pilot project will be published after completion of the project on these pages.

Orphan works

The motivation for this service is the debate about the orphan works problem. So called orphan works are those copyrighted works whose right holders cannot – with reasonable effort – be located anymore. This is the case with many works in the most different media: for insance, think of unsigned newspaper articles, or the casts and crews of motion pictures, or photographs from archives. Also with the 215,000 dissertations dating from the years 1925 to 1988 digitised by us, in most cases it will be nearly impossible to locate the author or their heirs. This means that – even if someone were prepared to contact the right holder and obtain the usage rights – they would not even find an opportunity or contact person necessary for concluding a license agreement. Current copyright law does not go into these "practical difficulties" – and, a few exceptions aside, the usage rights remain with the legal successors. 

EU directive on "orphan works"

Due to the aforementioned difficulties the European Parliament adopted a directive on the problem of orphan works, in which a few general rules are set up on how to proceed in the cases descirbed above. Through it libraries and other public institutions are to be granted the right to digitise and make accessible online orphan works. In doing so the following conditions are to be observed:

The "ARROW+" EU project

Independently but cronologically in parallel to the aforementioned EU directive the European Commission has since 2009 supported the ARROW project and its successor ARROW+, which have also addressed the orphan works problem. The goal of the projects is to develop an "electronic rights information infrastructure", which makes it possible to perform the steps for the ascertainment of the status of an orphan work that are required above as simply, efficiently and securely as possible. The project, which has more than 20 partner organisations in Europe and is coordinated by AIE (Associazion Italiana Editori), is mainly supported by  IFRRO (International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisation),  FEP (Federation of European Publishers) and TEL/Europeana (The European Library/Europeana Foundation).

So as not to unecessarily encumber the matter, which is already complex as it is, the ARROW network focuses on orphan books. The ARROW rights information infrastructure is to be continued and offered as a service to libraries by an independent organisiation after completion of the project. Further information on the project you can find on the project website.

DYR pilot service

Even if ARROW focuses primarily on books and the dissertations in question are a special case, they are nevertheless suited for a pilot service:

Mandatory publication of German dissertations

One more word, on the special case of dissertations: in Germany since the  19 th  century the mandatory official publication of any dissertation has been provided, and this exactly the reason for German dissertations making it all the way to the Univeristy of Innsbruck. Mandatory publication was, on the one hand, intorduced for quality assurance – it should be possible for anyone to examine the quality of a paper – and, on the other hand, the most recent research results should be retrievable in a timely manner at all major libraries of Germany, but also of Europe. Therefore, from our standpoint publication on the internet is the consequent continuation of this more than hundred-year-old practice.

Digitising German dissertations in Innsbruck?

Due to the mandatory publication of German dissertations since the late 19 th  century they were oftentimes also submitted to university libraries in neighbouring countries. In this way at the university library of Innsbruck a collection of more than 250,000 German dissertations grew. Nearly all of this collection was digitised in full from 2008 to 2011 and afterwards discarded. Due to the separation of the dissertations into single sheets that was made possible by this approach, the overall cost could be kept very low. However, there has been no digital index of the dissertations in the catalogue of the university and province library or Innsbruck. For this reason, with the help of an automated procedure a matching of the digitised title pages with the catalogue of the German National Library in Frankfurt has been performed. For supporting us in this project we would like to give our express and cordial thanks to the GNL team – first of all Ms Ute Schwens.

However, this matching required a relatively large amount of computation time so that for this pilot we have for now only matched 10,000 dissertations. Also ingesting 10,000 full documents into the digital Austiran Literature Online repository, which we operate, requires relatively much work, which was the main reason for our working with only 10,000 dissertations for now in this pilot project.

ARROW Rechteinfrastruktur. Alles aus einer Hand...