by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 1st 2008 3:25pm
We've discussed in the past the importance of orphan works legislation, which would make it possible for people to use content on which the copyright holder cannot be found. The amount of "orphan" content out there, that simply cannot be used, is staggering. An orphan works bill makes a tremendous amount of sense. Unfortunately, some content creators whipped up supporters into a frenzy, at times by lying about what the bill actually included, leading to a push to block the legislation. Those folks should be happy: while the Senate did pass the legislation, the House is letting it die, at least until after the election this November. There is no rational argument that I can see for not allowing this legislation to pass. The argument that this allows companies to "steal" the works of various artists is clearly untrue. The legislation requires a full search for the creator, and if the creator later turns up, they can get paid. This is necessary legislation to actually put tons of locked up content back to good use, and it's a shame that it was killed by the misleading complaints from folks who prefer to limit our cultural heritage by lying about what the bill would do.
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