The National Archive Publishing Co. (NAPC; www.napubco.com) has announced a 2-year project by which they will digitize a backfile of microfiche reports in ERIC (Education Resources Information Center; www.eric.ed.gov). All documents date from 1966 to 1992—about 340,000 documents or 40 million pages. Due to a conservative interpretation of contract language used until 1993 for submitting documents to ERIC, the project will also involve chasing down copyright holders, both corporate and individual authors, for permission to offer access to the electronic documents. Though the digitization will proceed independent of the permission-seeking process, the availability of full-text PDF files of the documents (free at the ERIC Web site) will depend on securing permission.
Later in the article it says that the hardest thing about this project may be obtaining permission from copyright holders, which NAPC is responsible for doing. We all know that will be true! I hope that NAPC will write an article (or do a presentation) in the next 1 - 2 years to tell us all how this copyright clearance process worked. They may learn lessons that would be valuable to all of us. And given the interest in Orphaned Works, maybe they will learn things that legislators could benefit hearing about.