Last spring, the US Copyright Office asked the public for comments about their experience with copyrighted orphan works (*), and suggestions on solutions to the problem. BookFinder.com made a submission, as did hundreds of others.
After several months. the US Copyright Office has released their final 133-page report based on their study. They suggest changing copyright law so that that users of orphaned works who do reasonably diligent searches and attribute the use of works will enjoy the following protections:
- the user will have to pay only “reasonable compensation” if the owner resurfaces and objects to the use
- non-commercial users won’t have to pay a fine if the owner resurfaces and objects to the use, as long as use of the work is stopped immediately
- if the orphaned work has been used as part of a larger work containing significant expression, then the entire larger work can’t be shut down as long as the user pays reasonable compensation
We’ll continue to track the issue, to see if the recommendations are taken up…
* Orphan works are copyrighted materials whose owners are difficult or impossible to locate, meaning they can no longer be purchased, reprinted, cited at length, or otherwise built upon. Books can get “orphaned” for all sorts of reasons. Publishers shut down. Authors move, change their names, or pass away. Under U.S. copyright law, academics, artists, researchers, and plain-old-readers have no recourse if the copyright holder can’t be contacted.Posted by Anirvan