One of the central dilemmas facing nearly every digital library is the digitization, dissemination, and use of “orphan works.” Recent developments in the Google Book settlement and a proposed orphan works directive by the European Commission have accelerated the discourse, prompting the U.S. Copyright Office to suggest renewed interest in solving the problem. The University of California’s Berkeley Center for Law and Technology will address these and other issues in a April 12-13 symposium entitled “Orphans Works & Mass Digitization: Obstacles & Opportunities.” We heartily encourage all DPLA community members to attend or take note. Some of the questions the symposium hopes to cover include:
Is legislation necessary to achieve a solution to the orphan works problem, or can fair use achieve some of the goal? Should orphan works legislation be aimed at creating an exception for reuses of orphan works, or should reusers of orphan works only be subject to more limited remedies if a rights holder later shows up? What other solutions should be considered? To what extent is ambiguity about who as between authors and publishers own ebook rights contributing to the orphan work problem? What factors should be considered in determining what constitutes “a diligent search”? Should every potential user of an orphan work have to do such a search, or can users rely on searches conducted by others?
For more details about the two-day orphan works symposium, including registration and logistics, please visit the Center’s site.