Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ARL Resource Packet On Orphan Works: Legal and Policy Issues for Research Libraries

Prudence Adler (ARL), Jonathan Band (policybandwidth), and Brandon Butler (ARL) have written a 17 page report entitled "Resource Packet On Orphan Works: Legal and Policy Issues for Research Libraries" which provides background on orphan works and their associated legal and policy issues, the University of Michigan’s Orphan Works Project, and other material that will allow people to understand the issues faced by Authors Guild v. HathiTrust et al. Quoting the report:

Recently, the University of Michigan announced the initiation of the Orphan Works Project. The focus of the Project is on US digitized books held by HathiTrust, a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future.

HathiTrust provides a variety of secure long-term preservation and, in some cases, access services to the nearly 10 million scans that resulted from Google Book Search and other digitization efforts by research libraries. Digitizing these works has made identifying and locating high quality sources of information—both copyrighted and public domain works—far easier, thereby significantly increasing the value of library collections in support of research, teaching, and learning.

On September 12, 2011, the Authors Guild, together with authors’ associations from Australia and Quebec and eight individual authors, filed suit against HathiTrust and five universities claiming that the making, storing, and providing access to digital scans of copyrighted works is illegal, objecting particularly to the Orphan Works Project.

One of the things I really like about this report is that it goes through the four factors of Fair Use for the materials being digitized by HathiTrust. The amount of detail is excellent, which makes it a wonderful example. (Looks like something I will need to assign as a reading for my copyright class.)

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