The European Commission has looked at the Google Books deal and likes what it sees. The EC recently proposes rules for online books that generally mirror Google's plans for online book registry, The New York Times reports.
But if the online registry is a continent-wide service, rather than one controlled by Google, it could be a very good way to free orphan books and out-of-print titles. The problem with orphan books is that they may or may not be controlled by copyright and it's virtually impossible to find those rightholders.
In addition, Vivienne Reding, the EC commissioner, is pushing new rules that could make it easier to create an EU-wide copyright.
Ms. Reding said Europeans should “look very closely at the discussions in the U.S. to see how the experience made there could best be used for finding a European solution.”
In typical bureaucrat-ese, the language calls for "solutions (that) could include speeding up the creation of registries of orphan and out of print works” and “the pragmatic use of a cutoff date that would impose a lower threshold” for users trying to clear rights to the works.