The Real Problem With The Google Book Settlement Isn't The Settlement, But Copyright Law Itself

from the fix-that-and-there's-no-problem dept

In Congressional hearings on Thursday about the Google book settlement, most of the news reports focused on two particular things: (1) the fact that Marybeth Peters, head of the US Copyright Office, spoke out against the settlement, claiming that it violates copyright law and (2) Google's "concession" in letting other booksellers offer up the "orphan works" that Google would scan. Both are interesting, if not particularly surprising developments. Indeed, the controversy over the question of orphan works in the Google books settlement is a big one. But the real issue isn't the settlement, but copyright law itself. The whole problem of "orphan works" is solely a result of the continual and ridiculous level of copyright expansion over the years that has created these so-called "orphan works." It seems that the only person who actually seemed willing to discuss that was Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who actually used the occasion to call for a repeal to the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act, noting that it was a large part of the problem. While that has almost no shot of actually happening, it's great to see at least one person in Congress recognizing that the problem was created by Congress (at the demand -- and funding -- of the entertainment industry).
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Filed Under: book scanning, copyright, orphan works
Companies: google


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2009 @ 5:31am

    Root cause?

    It was my understanding that it was Disney who is largely responsible for that 1998 expansion act. They were about to lose their copyright on Mickey and spent oodles of bucks buying votes in congress so Mickey would not go public domain. Not sure if this is true, but if it is, it's criminal.

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