The IRIS Merlin database enables you to access more than 8,000 articles (as at September 2019), reporting on legal events of relevance to the audiovisual industry. These articles report on relevant laws, decisions of various courts and administrative authorities, and policy documents from more than 50 countries. They also report on legal instruments, decisions and policy documents of major European and international institutions. Many of the laws, decisions and documents on which the articles are based are now accessible via a single internet address and are therefore just a "mouseclick" away.

IRIS Merlin derives its information from IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory. Via this monthly newsletter, the European Audiovisual Observatory has been supplying those interested in the audiovisual industry with the latest legal information ever since 1995. Around 30 new articles are published in the newsletter each month and made also available in the database.

You can use IRIS Merlin in English, French or German, depending on your individual search needs or personal preference. You can change the language at any time via the toolbar at the top of the screen.

The database gives you the options of:

  • a full text search

with various search modes, including the boolean method; this full text search takes in the text of the article as well as its title and the reference to the document (law, decision, policy document) that the article is based on;

  • search by Date

i.e., you can specify the time period in which the event you are interested in is believed to have occurred, thus narrowing the search;

  • search by Topics

here you can narrow the search by specifying the content. If you click on more than one topic (by pressing the CRTL key and holding it down), you select articles that are relevant to all those topics. If a topic has subdivisions (e.g. Broadcasting Law), selecting the general topic will display all the results for that entire topic area;

  • search by Countries

this allows you to narrow the search to the country or countries you are especially interested in with respect to particular legal developments. To select more than one country, use the CTRL key. The countries are arranged alphabetically by their ISO code. If you position the cursor on the box, you can use the keyboard to select the initial letter of the country. If you are interested in whole groups of countries (e.g. all member countries of the Council of Europe), you can simply click the corresponding button instead of marking each country one by one;

  • search by Organisations

this option gives you a quick overview of the activities of the European and international institutions you are particularly interested in. You can select several organisations at once by operating the cursor via the CTRL key;

  • search by References

here you can specify the kind of information you are seeking, i.e. laws, decisions, policy documents, press releases etc; as a rule, IRIS articles reflect events that have been recorded in writing in one of these forms. The search results therefore contain a link to these original sources. With the help of the References category you can concentrate your search on one (or - using the CTRL key - several) of these kinds of references sources;


You must select at least one of these search modes, and you can select more than one if you wish. If you select several search modes, you will only be shown articles that correspond to all the search words. In two cases, however, you are offered a choice between AND and OR.

In the first case, you can enter "Countries" and "Organisations" as alternatives, using the OR command. In this case all articles will be sought which relate either to a country you are searching for, or to an organisation you are searching for, or to both. With the AND command you only call up those results that relate to both the country and the organisation.

In the second case, the "References" search mode allows you to specify whether an event you are searching for should relate to, for example, "national legislation" AND simultaneously "international legislation" (as might be the case, for example, when a country becomes a party to an international agreement) or whether you are searching for articles that relate either to "national legislation" OR to "international legislation".

To display the Results of your search you can choose either a short listing of the titles of all articles found, or else a longer display containing not just the title but also the beginning of the text as well as the classification information for each article. In either case, you can access the full text of the desired article by clicking on its title.

f the text of an article contains a reference to another IRIS article, you can instantly call up the second article by clicking on the reference (e.g. IRIS 2001-2: 3). You may, however, be shown several articles. This happens, for example, if there is more than one article that begins on page 3 of the February issue of IRIS 2001. However, the article you are searching for will definitely be among those listed, and a full-text version of it can be called up by clicking on the title.

The CTRL ("Control") key of your keyboard, which has been mentioned several times already, allows you to mark several search words within a search mode, and also erase such markings. Position the cursor on the entry you want to mark or erase, and click. The reset command allows you to erase all entries.

With the Refine Search command, which only appears on the page displaying your search results, you can add additional search words to those already entered.


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