Cultural diversity

Publications and Studies

The Protection of Cinematographic Heritage in Europe

IRIS Plus , The European Audiovisual Observatory, Strasbourg, September 2004 - 2004/09

In this issue of IRIS Plus by the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) dedicated to The Protection of Cinematographic Heritage in Europe, Ms Sabina Gorini of the Institute for Information Law (IViR) of the University of Amsterdam tells us that Cinematographic films are not purely for entertainment. They are also a valuable record of our times and, above all, an important part of our culture. But does this mean they are systematically preserved in collections like other documentary material and cultural assets? And does it mean members of the public have access to them like to books in a public library or to works of art in a museum? Not all films are necessarily preserved in collectins, nor is their collection necessarily automatic. Property rights and the public interest associated with ensuring films are preserved and readily accessible are aspects that have to be reconciled with each other, either by law or by agreement between the parties involved. This edition looks at how different countries deal with this problem and what initiatives have been taken in this area at European level. In this regard, it informs us about the different deposit systems that have been developed, about film preservation methods, and about the accessibility of deposited works. In conclusion, Ms Gorini maintains that «However, because the majority of production companies in Europe are not in a position to ensure the conservation of their productions (both in terms of logistics and costs), an increased co-operation on their part in the context of publicly organised systems of deposit (by which preservation is financed by the State) seems to be a realistic hope». She also states that «It is conceivable that the cultural aims of the State in preserving the heritage can be made to converge with the economic objectives of the cinema industry». ( Available in French and English )

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