The Council's approval marks the final step in the legislative procedure meaning that the Directive will formally enter into force in the coming weeks further to its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. Member States will then have two years to transpose it into national law.
Commissioner Barnier has said that "Today's adoption of the Orphan Works Directive is a significant achievement in our efforts to create a digital single market. It will enable easy online access for all citizens to our cultural heritage. The swift and successful outcome of the legislative process and the broad consensus reached both in the Council and the Parliament prove that by working together we can agree on measures to ensure that the EU copyright rules are fit for purpose in the digital age. Alongside other achievements such as the European Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the mass digitisation of out-of-commerce books, this Directive is one more step in making licensing and online access to cultural content easier."
As this blog reported in September, although the Commission's Vice-President Neelie Kroes, is in favour of the Orphan Works Directive and proposals relating to collective rights management, she has been very clear other issues exist beyond licensing and orphan works, and that "substantive copyright reform" is required.