March 8, 2021

Orphan Works Lawsuit Opinion and Analysis: "Stop the Internet, We Want to Get Off!"

Comments by Kevin Smith’s, Duke University’s Communications Officer.

From Smith’s Blog Post:

My own reading of the initial complaint — I doubt it is the final version — suggests a notable absence of logical argument.  The press release the plaintiffs issued yesterday was full of protests and anguish, but did little to state a real case against Hathi.  As it turns out, the complaint itself is not much clearer.

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The reference to how we might solve the orphan works problem in this country and elsewhere gives us a clue, I think, to what is behind this lawsuit and why it takes such an odd and twisted form.  I think what is really going on here is an attempt to forestall ANY exploitation of orphan works until and unless the industry lobbyists can convince Congress to pass legislation that allows them to make money from those works. The plaintiffs never address the defendants’ claim, to which they refer, that Hathi provides a social benefit, and I think that the point of the lawsuit is to make sure that they get paid before anyone is able to take advantage of that benefit.  I will have more to say about this possibility in my next post.

Read the Complete Blog Post

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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