NEMO: European-wide study on copyright and museums


Since copyright impacts on many aspects of museum work, museums need to make sure to be part of the discussions!

Governments around Europe are re-thinking their approach to copyright, both on European as on national level. The European Commission is preparing the Digital Single Market Strategy, including a review of copyright legislative framework, will report in late 2015/early 2016. This survey gives an overview of “real life” museum practice and IPR-related problems. Through the feedback from you, we were able to produce well-supported recommendations for how copyright in Europe should be shaped to help museums with ensuring the best public access possible to their collections.


Study Findings in a nutshell

The survey finds that museums regard the management of copyrights as

  • Complicated,
  • Outdated,
  • Unfair, and
  • Expensive.


Complicated, because copyright differs from state to state and is often unclear.

Expensive, both at human and financial resources level, because each work has to be cleared separately. That does not only require a lot of money but a lot of time, too!

Outdated, because copyright licenses are not adjusted to modern technical standards yet, and existing copyright exceptions for museums commonly don’t support online access to collections.

Unfair, because sometimes tariffs for licenses are too high for institutions like museums in service of society, for education and research, and for their non-commercial activities.


NEMO’s core recommendations

  1. In order to make copyright legislation fair, it is vital to consult all stakeholders during the process of the copyright review. Museums need to be part of this discussion.
  2. There is a need for a harmonized copyright agreement with adequate exceptions for museums, being institutions in service of society. 



NEMO is happy to engage in discussions with all stakeholders, particularly with the European institutions, about how to ensure that European cultural heritage will be visible and accessible in the future for society.




NEMO - The Network of European Museum Organisations

In der Halde 1

14195 Berlin


T: +49/30/841095-17