Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Orphan Works Act of 2008

Andrea Foster, Legislation to Ease Problem of Orphan Works Is Introduced in Congress, Wired Campus, April 25, 2008.  Excerpt:

Congress is revisiting the longstanding problem of orphan works. These are books, films, photographs, music, and other creative works that cannot be reused by scholars and archivists because they are unable to find the works’ owners. Those who make use of the material risk incurring penalties for copyright infringement. Experts estimate that as much as 22 percent of an academic library’s books are orphaned....

Lawmakers who lead committees on intellectual-property issues on Thursday introduced legislation that would exempt scholars and others from facing excessive copyright-infringement penalties for using orphan works. They would need to first diligently try to locate the works’ owners. Should the owners surface after a work has been reused they would receive some compensation, but could not stop the derivative creation from being distributed.

The bills, the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008, S. 2913, in the Senate; and the Orphan Works Act of 2008, H.R. 5889, in the U.S. House of Representatives, are supported by the Association of Research Libraries, the Internet Archive, and the Recording Industry Association of America, among other groups....