Scott Carlson in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
This week, at the urging of prominent legal scholars, academic-library organizations, technology companies such as Google and Microsoft, and many other interested parties, the U.S. Copyright Office is holding a series of hearings to determine whether copyright law should change to allow for more liberal use of orphan works.
Scholars and others weighed in earlier this year, filing comments on the issue with the copyright office in anticipation of the hearings. The American Historical Association, for example, noted that orphan works had become a problem for scholars, “hampering the historian’s ability to work with the raw materials of history.”
The comments reveal that even frequent adversaries on copyright issues agree that changes are needed in how the law governs orphan works. But few people agree on what those changes should be.