Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Library community comment on orphan works

Prue Adler, Update on Library Community Filing on Orphan Works, American Library Association Washington Office Newsline, March 22, 2005. Excerpt: 'The library community will be filing comments with the U.S. Copyright Office in support of a proposal to change copyright law to address issues surrounding orphan works. Orphan works are those copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or even impossible to find....The library associations are working with many in the non-profit community including library associations, the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic, the College Art Association (CAA), the American Historical Association, cultural institutions, and public interest groups in developing a "legislative fix" to the Copyright Act to address the issues associated with orphan works. The hope is to draft a legislative solution that many communities and constituencies can support. There is a strong sense that if many organizations and interests can coalesce behind one proposal, this could be helpful in moving the discussions forward....In the interim, the following is an outline of the draft proposal. [1] The definition of an orphan work is a work for which the copyright owner cannot be reasonably located....[3] The use of orphan works should apply to all types of uses, not-for-profit and for profit....[5] The proposal calls for a "reasonable efforts search" by "qualified users." A reasonable effort would be an effort to identify and locate copyright owners in good faith, using location tools and other resources, and that is considered reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. Such a user is an institution or individual who uses an orphan work after conducting a reasonable search. [6] The proposal will provide general guidance to the user as to what constitutes a reasonable effort, e.g. use of "best practices" developed by relevant professional organizations (e.g. from CAA, the library community, etc.) and information from the Copyright Office. [7] Once a reasonable effort has been conducted, a user may use an orphan work without limitation unless or until an owner comes forward. If an owner does come forward, new use of that work would require permission. Previous use could continue.'

(PS: Remember that if you want to submit comments on the orphan works problem to the U.S. Copyright Office, they are due by March 25 --this Friday. Reply comments are due by May 9. The easiest way to submit a comment is through the web form created by Free Culture, EFF, and Public Knowledge.)