Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive (a long-time BookFinder.com user) and Richard Prelinger of the Prelinger Archives challenged the legal basis for copyright protection of orphan works* in a 2004 lawsuit, Kahle v. Gonzales.
The case was recently dismissed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, upholding a lower court decision—further frustrating the possibility that we’ll ever be able to buy, use, or cite extensively from the millions of works that have fallen into the “orphan works” category.
- Reuters via Yahoo! News
- Christopher Sprigman, Stanford Law School
- Internet Archive
- Full court decision, in PDF format
- Reaction from Larry Lessig
* 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