Friday, September 30, 2005

Orphan works article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian News. I'll be speaking out more on copyright issues in the coming months. A recent article mentions why Benetech is concerned about orphan works: obscure works are hard to find the copyright owner, and it costs to much to hassle with.
Tim O'Reilly (who has been hugely helpful to us and especially published an op-ed in the New York Times about the Authors Guild suing Google's Library project. "AUTHORS struggle, mostly in vain, against their fated obscurity. According to Nielsen Bookscan, which tracks sales from major booksellers, only 2 percent of the 1.2 million unique titles sold in 2004 had sales of more than 5,000 copies. Against this backdrop, the recent Authors Guild suit against the Google Library Project is poignantly wrongheaded."

Similar issue: our IP laws and attitudes are overly focused on the incorrect concept that intellectual property is the same as real property or other tangible objects. We have to ensure that the public's interest (and as Tim points out, the authors' interests, even though they don't understand why) stays in mind as we legislate and litigate our way to some interesting places!

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