January 19, 2022

RFC: U.S. Copyright Office Seeks Comments on Mass Digitization Copyright Program

Last week’s report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization by the U.S. Copyright Office mentioned that:

The Office suggests a “pilot program: that would enable users to digitize and provide access to certain works for research and education purposes under conditions to be agreed upon between rightsholder and user representatives.

To assist it in developing appropriate legislation, the Office is issuing a Notice of Inquiry contemporaneously with the Report, inviting public comment on various issues concerning the scope and administration of such a program.

TODAY, the U.S. Copyright Office published a Request For Comments (RFC) in the Federal Register. A PDF version is embedded below.

From the RFC:

The U.S. Copyright Office is developing a limited pilot program and corresponding draft legislation that would establish a legal framework known as extended collective licensing for certain mass digitization activities that are currently beyond the reach of the Copyright Act. This request provides the opportunity for interested parties to submit specific recommendations regarding the operational aspects of the pilot program, within the parameters and legal framework described in the Office’s Orphan Works and Mass Digitization report.

In the report, the Office proposes separate legislative solutions for each issue. With respect to orphan works, the Office has proposed, with certain conditions, a limitation on liability for good faith users, improving upon its 2006 Orphan Works Report as well as the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act passed by the Senate in 2008. [2] With respect to mass digitization, the Office has concluded that the addition of extended collective licensing (ECL) in U.S. law would help to facilitate the work of those who wish to digitize and provide full access to certain collections of books, photographs, or other materials for nonprofit educational or research purposes. An ECL framework can facilitate lawful uses that are not otherwise possible (e.g., because they are beyond the reach of case-by-case licensing or the application of fair use or both).

Direct to Full Text of RFC

U.S. Copyrght Office: Mass Digitization Pilot Program; Request for Comments

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.