February 17, 2018

Congress Introduces Orphan Works Bill

By LJ Staff

After months of negotiations, Congress is addressing a bill to deal with orphan works, which are still in copyright but whose owners cannot be located. The bill was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and will be reviewed by the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, which Smith chairs. The bill would make such orphan works more easily available for reuse by making potential penalties for copyright infringement minimal if an infringer made a sufficient, good faith effort to locate the owner of a work without success. Prue Adler, associate executive director of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), said the bill was a step forward, if imperfect. "There are some provisions in the bill that we would like to see improved upon," Adler said, adding that ARL would work to secure the bill’s passage. "Based on many hours of negotiation, we believe this bill is a positive step forward beyond the Copyright Office draft language," she said.