Images for the Future: from digitization to dissemination, when can we watch?

In 2007 the Dutch government launched Images for the Future with the goal to preserve, digitize and make accessible online a large amount of audio-visual material held by, amongst others, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. Today while an important part of the archives has been digitized, the material is hardly available online for the general public: copyright issues stand in the way of a broad dissemination. Whereas the digitization of audio-visual material has taken place on the basis of an exception in the Dutch Copyright Act, the making available of that material would most likely infringe the copyright owner’s exclusive right, if done without prior authorization. As a result the unprecedented educational, cultural, societal, and economical value of Images for the Future mostly remains untapped, as long as the material cannot be made legally accessible. The current project will investigate the underlying legal and practical issues relating to the making available of the Images for the Future. The project will develop strategies to overcome the main obstacles that prevent the use of the digitized material by different audiences and for different purposes, focusing on the public broadcasting collection. In doing so, the project will also explore the possibility of cooperating with private partners to develop new business models for making the Images for the Future available to the public with the permission of the rights holders and in such a way that different types of value can be generated from providing access to the digitized material.”