SFWA to Attend U.S. Copyright Office Roundtables on Orphan Works|
On March 10-11, 2014, the U.S. Copyright Office will host another round of discussions in Washington, D.C., concerning legislative solutions for orphan works and mass digitization under U.S. copyright law. The purpose of the roundtables is to gather feedback and insight on potential solutions, and to discuss the issues of copyright in the context of technology and digital distribution.
SFWA will be represented by former SFWA President Michael Capobianco at two of the nine sessions this week: “Defining a good faith ‘reasonably diligent search’ standard” and “The role of private and public registries.” He has served as a member of SFWA’s Orphan Copyright Committee, which has been working closely with professionals and government representatives as well as Bud Webster of SFWA’s own Estates Project to ensure that the rights of authors and their heirs are protected. Capobianco also represented SFWA at the Copyright Office’s 2005 Orphan Works Roundtable.
Works would be declared “orphaned” when the owner(s) of the copyright is unknown or cannot be located. A special protocol for publishing those works could be established by orphan works legislation, but exactly what that protocol would be is up for debate. This is a particularly pressing issue for the speculative fiction industry, with its continuing re-publications of “classic” works in reprint anthologies. Although SFWA’s Estate Project has done yeoman work in finding contact information for many of these authors, there are many more that are extremely difficult or impossible to find.
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Tags: bud webster, contracts and copyrights, copyright education, information center, michael capobianco, news, sfwa blog