On February 11, 2021, Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek has agreed with President of the Association of Czech Booksellers and Publishers Martin Vopěnka, to conclude a licence agreement that will allow online access to digitized documents, including those available on the market, by the end of June 2021. It concerns documents accessible through digital libraries operated by the National Library of the CR, Moravian Land Library in Brno, Charles University in Prague, Library of the Academy of Sciences of the CR, National Library of Technology and the Municipal Library in Prague. Students, pedagogues and scientific staff have ensured the access to all copyrighted works including the latest literature for the next five months, as it has been so far.
The State will pay publishers the compensation in the amount of CZK 80 million for unsold books, which will be available online thanks to this agreement.
The agreement between Minister of Culture and President of SČKN has the support of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček, as well as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Alena Schillerová.
"I am very happy that we have agreed with Mr. Vopěnka, because the possibility to access the National Digital Library online until the summer holidays is an irreplaceable tool for students and researchers during a pandemic, without which the fields of education and research would not be able to do," says Minister L. Zaorálek.
Last year, the coronavirus pandemic significantly reduced library services related to users' physical access to their holdings. Libraries were completely closed to the public or provided loan services and operated their reading rooms with a number restrictions. This fact turned the attention of libraries and their users to the development and use of online services. Thanks to the negotiations of the National Library of the CR with the collective copyright managers, Dilia and OOA-S, and the Association of Czech Publishers and Booksellers (SČKN), the extraordinary short-term collective licensing agreements were successfully concluded in March, which enabled the full opening of digital libraries including copyrighted works (online access was open from March to May 2020 and then, a new licence agreement was concluded for the period from November 2020 to February 2021). The licensing agreements for the aforementioned periods were provided free of charge and covered all copyrighted works including the latest literature. Above all, University students and teachers or researchers have had and will have online access to the digital content. At present, there are 103 institutions registered in the system, mainly universities, colleges and scientific institutes.