After I had taken the time to read (most of) the Notice of Inquiry and Report by the Copyright Office, I too felt that the original e-mail was hyperbolic. Nonetheless, I still felt compelled to write a letter to the Copyright Office with my input. I think there is an element of truth to some of the claims in the hyperbolic e-mail, but the graphicpolicy.com
article you just sent us a link to seems a more accurate interpretation.
My take is that the Report recommends that the risk to people using orphaned works is removed as long as those people did a diligent search for the copyright holder. I don't recall that had anything to do with being a part of a Collective Management Organization (CMO) or not. (Although if it did I think membership in a CMO should be opt-in, not opt-out). I object to their recommendation.
Here are a couple excerpts from my letter to the Copyright Office:
"[Y]our report gives me the impression that copyright law should exist primarily to facilitate people’s ability to legally make use of existing intellectual properties. In my view, that is a fundamental shift in purpose with potentially terrible consequences. I believe the primary purpose of copyright law is and should be to protect the rights of creators of intellectual property, thereby enabling creators to make a living and create more works."
"I believe your proposed changes to the Copyright Act are trying to solve a problem that is not large or insidious. Indeed, in your own document (pp. 48-49) you state: “We believe, however, that as search capabilities grow and more artists make themselves known via searchable image registries like PLUS (Picture Licensing Universal System), there will be a smaller and smaller likelihood that owners of orphan works will not be able to be connected with those who want to use their works.” I agree with the sentiment that it’s becoming easier to discover the creators of images, although I’m doubtful it’ll be through registries like PLUS.... Since it seems probable that fewer and fewer works will become orphans, why must we drastically change the existing Copyright Act in order to solve a problem that will lessen over time anyway? It seems to me that your proposed “solution” of removing the risks for users of orphan works may cause a much bigger problem than it hopes to solve."
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