Sunday, December 11, 2011

Copyright Office Publishes To-Do List

Last month, the Register of Copyrights released “Priorities and Special Projects Of The United States Copyright Office.”

The paper includes 17 priorities and 10 special projects that the Copyright Office will focus on for the next 2 years.

Three studies are proposed:

(1) Mass book digitization

This study largely stems from the Google Book Search litigation. (See previous blog entries here.) Some of the issues being researched include the Section 108 library and archive exceptions in digitalization, the current landscape and marketplace, addressing the issue of orphan works, and how to facilitate digitalization through licensing. It seems that the U.S. Copyright Office would like a say in the Google Book litigation but unlike Google, it seems that the U.S. government has additional considerations.

(2) Legal treatment of pre 1972 sound recordings

This is a goal raised previously as to how to treat pre-1972 sound recordings that were not covered by federal copyright. One issue is how to cover these works under federal law. (It is possible that the decision in Golan v. Holder may have an impact.) Another major issue is the impact (especially financial) on affected rights holders; and

(3) Small claims solutions for copyright owners

This study is not only the newest but also most intriguing. The Copyright Office is looking into methods of resolving copyright infringement claims involving lower amounts of money. Public comments will be due in the beginning of 2012. While the cost of litigation is high, it is difficult to perceive what the Copyright Office could propose.

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