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Legal Issues in Mass Digitization: A Preliminary Analysis and Discussion Document

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Citation Edit

Office of the Register of Copyrights, Legal Issues in Mass Digitization: A Preliminary Analysis and Discussion Document (Oct. 2011) (full-text).

Overview Edit

This Analysis was prepared under the auspices of the Office of Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Copyright Office, with support from the Office of the Copyright General Counsel. It addresses the issues raised by the intersection between copyright law and the mass digitization of books. The Copyright Office prepared this Analysis for the purpose of facilitating further discussion among the affected parties and the public — discussions that may encompass a number of possible approaches, including voluntary initiatives, legislative options, or both.

It provided an overview of the existing mass digitization landscape in the United States and posed several policy questions for further consideration, including whether "there [is] a reason for Congress to encourage the digitization of copyrighted books by user groups," of whether such activities such instead be "left to the marketplace and the copyright law as it currently exists." In addition, the Office suggested that "Congress may want to explore orphan works in the context of large-scale digitization projects, addressing questions such as whether there should be more lenient or more stringent search requirements for these types of uses." Noting the challenge of clearing rights on a case-by-case basis in that context, the Office observed that "it might be helpful to consider whether other licensing models might be used — such as voluntary collective licensing, mandatory collective licensing, or even statutory licensing — at least for facilitating certain projects and transactions of interest and importance to the public."

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