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Library Copyright Alliance Supports Orphan Works Reform

Orphan works are works whose copyright owners cannot be identified and located. Libraries and archives possess millions of orphan works in their collections, in the form of photographs, letters, manuscripts, drawings, and older books. These works often have great historic and cultural significance. However, because the copyright owners cannot be located, libraries cannot obtain the rights holders' permission to make these works widely available to the public. This leaves libraries on the horns of a dilemma. Libraries can either disseminate the works and face the risk of the copyright owners demanding statutory damages and injunctive relief; or leave the works in archives, where few people can see them.

pdf orphanworkslcasupports.pdf

 
 

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

There is long-standing interest in identifying orphan works, books that are subject to copyright but whose copyright holders cannot be identified or contacted. Orphan works comprise a significant percentage of ARL collections, and there is deep interest in making these works discoverable and more accessible. 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.

pdf resource_orphanworks_13sept11.pdf

 
 

Orphan Works Legislation

The orphan works legislation is intended to enable someone, after conducting a "qualifying search" for the owner, to use an orphan work--a copyrighted work whose owner cannot be located.

pdf owlegislation.pdf

 
 
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