Blown To Bits

Rising Interest in Orphan Works

Saturday, April 18th, 2009 by Harry Lewis

The discussions about how the Google Book settlement proposes to handle orphan works have expanded. A small group of which I am a member have formally sought to intervene. So has the Internet Archive. Today the NYT Bits Blog has a brief explanation, and some good commentary.

There have also been three articles that take up the settlement in a more serious way:

Randy Picker, “The Google Book Search Settlement: A New Orphan-works Monopoly?” Picker is an anti-trust lawyer. It’s a longish paper (though not by law review standards), but the first few pages provide a good summary.

Pamela Samuelson: “Legally Speaking: The Dead Souls of the Google Book Settlement.” An excellent, clear, short critique of the settlement. Easy to read for the layperson, highly recommended. This will be Samuelson’s column in the July issue of the Communications of the ACM.

James Grimmelmann, “The Google Book Settlement: Ends, Means, and the Future of Books” (pdf, 17 pages). An issues brief, thoughtful and analytical and complete.

I urge anyone interested to read the Samuelson piece in particular.

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