EFF and Marybeth Peters on Orphan Works

Corynne McSherry gives a breakdown and a call to action for orphan works legislation in the US. One thing that was written that I didn’t know about was…

Congress also plans to certify searchable databases for visual works like photographs, graphic arts, and textile designs that will collect information about works and contact information for the related copyright owners.

Certification? Really? Congress? Well, the Register of Copyrights doesn’t want to take it on.

Here’s what Marybeth Peters said in March, 2008 (The Register of Copyrights, before the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, Committee on the Judiciary)

As a side bar, we believe that the Copyright Office’s role in technology should be limited to reviewing best practices that are submitted to us. For example, we would not want to certify databases or other technological tools because we do not have the technical expertise to undertake such tasks. Moreover, we are not persuaded that certification should be a central concern. A user should take advantage of all reasonable tools likely to lead him to the copyright owner, regardless of whether the government has blessed that tool. [Emphasis added]

EFF – Release the Orphan Works!

Marybeth Peters – US Copyright Office


  1. Reposted from the FEDLIB listserv:

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