Copyright Office Chief Promises to Have Orphan, Library Proposals Ready for New Congress

By Louis Trager, Washington Internet Daily

Coming U.S. Copyright Office recommendations to enact a law about the use of works whose rights holders haven't been found, and to reframe copyright exceptions for libraries, will greet the next Congress when it starts, the head of the agency said. "We have already begun to convene meetings on these topics and will have specific recommendations to revise" Copyright Act Section 108 about libraries "and enact orphans legislation for the new Congress in January," said Maria Pallante, the register of copyrights. "We are discussing and will continue to advise them on collective licensing and the relative merits of both opt-in and opt-out solutions" for rights holders. She signaled that her office will go big in its suggestions.

"Resetting the relationship between copyright owners and libraries requires both oversight and legislation from Congress" about orphan works and libraries, "and to explore new forms of licensing," Pallante said late Thursday at a symposium of the University of California-Berkeley's law school. "Why? Because it's in the public interest to both protect owners and ensure the future of libraries. It may well be that an opt-out system is the most sensible solution in some cases, but those cases require scrutiny and compromise to ensure that authors are not undercut and that library projects are responsible." Earlier speakers at the event from Warner Bros. and the book-publishing industry had endorsed the passage of orphan-works legislation, but representatives of the Internet Archive and other collections resisted the idea (WID April 13 p3).

Get the full article at 4/16/2012