Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ARROW provides digital libraries and publishers ability to locate rightsholders for orphaned works

Those concerned about the orphaned works issues (whether or not in conjunction with projects like Google books) would do well to listen to the podcast at the bottom of this “Beyond the Bookcast” link, concerning ARROW, Accessible Rights and Registries Information, developed by the Italian Publishers Association (AIE). 

The link is here, about 40 minutes.

There is a link to a PDF transcript.

Alexander Woo wrote the following to me, which I will pass along here:

“I thought you might be interested in this new “Beyond the Book” podcast from Copyright Clearance Center from the 2011 Global Market Forum (featuring Publishing in Italy) as part of BookExpo America 2011 in which CCC’s Chris Kenneally interviews Piero Attanasio and Michael Healy. They discuss ARROW(Accessible Registries of Rights Information and Orphan Works) and how it will allow for an evolutionary change in the publishing business. ARROW a system to help libraries with the identification of rights status and rightsholders in digital library programs. It is based on a pro-active search of rightsholders for works eligible for inclusion in any digitization program, and indirectly is a tool for the identification of ‘orphan works’.”

This appears to related more to European copyright law issues, which are not necessarily the same as in the US (they generally are a bit stricter). 

There is a general comment that technological innovation always occurs in an environment where existing legal and ethical boundaries can be challenged, and where people can be affected in unforeseen ways.

The podcast says that in the US we don't have an adequate legal mechanism to distribute orphan works legally; the Google Book Settlement is discussed.  He says that any legislated solution from Congress would probably be "opt out", where as the Settlement tried to be "opt in".  The speakers say that copyright has become much more sensitive politically than had been expected.

One possible result of publishing a little-known work online and making it searchable is that, in a practical sense, the reputation of parties (or their descendants) previously obscure becomes easy to discover publicly, and sometimes this turns out to be unwanted. 

Here is Adrian Johns from the Massachusetts School of Law (start at 4:38 for discussion of orphan works)

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