Denise Troll Covey
Principal Librarian for Special Projects
Carnegie Mellon University
In 2005 the U.S. Copyright Office issued a Notice of Inquiry to determine “whether orphaned works are being needlessly removed from public access and their dissemination inhibited.” Over 800 responses were submitted to the inquiry, and two public hearings were held to discuss the issues, trade-offs, and proposed solutions. This session will provide an analysis of the debate, focusing on the affiliations of those engaged in the debate and the assumptions and implications of their proposed definitions of an orphan work and proposed solutions to the orphan works problem. The debate appears to devolve into two contentious camps, one of which proposes a solution that would be relatively cheap and easy to implement and enable safe legal adoption of orphan works, the other which proposes a solution that would be prohibitively expensive and difficult to implement and yield only risky foster parenting for orphan works. The ultimate outcome of the debate will reveal to what extent Congress values balancing private interest with public good and the preservation and use of our cultural and intellectual heritage.
Handout (MS Word)