Copyright Office Report Outlines Issues Surrounding Mass Digitization of Books

The Bureau of Affairs


The ongoing dispute between Google Inc. and copyright owners regarding Google's mass digitization of books shows that the time is right for policymakers to take up the questions prompted by mass digitization, according to a report released Oct. 31 by the Copyright Office.

The hefty document—“Legal Issues in Mass Digitization: A Preliminary Analysis and Discussion Document,” provides an analysis of several issues related to mass digitization, including the rights of libraries and archives, fair use rights, use of orphaned works, and licensing.

The release of this document represented the third major action within a week on items listed in the Copyright Office's Oct. 25 two-year strategic plan(208 PTD, 10/27/11). Action against rogue websites was the first legislative priority identified in the plan and on Oct. 26, a bipartisan group of members of the House Judiciary Committee introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act (209 PTD, 10/28/11). Then, on Oct. 27, the Copyright Office issued a notice of inquiry regarding proposals to address the question of “small copyright claims,” another one of the items listed in the strategic plan.

Legal, legislative, and policy questions surrounding mass digitization were also addressed in the Copyright Office's Oct. 25 strategic plan document.

For more information on mass digitalization, attend the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology's upcoming symposium, Orphan Works and Mass Digitalization: Obstacles and Opportunities, April 12-13, 2012.