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AuthorTopic: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Issues  (Read 1672 times)

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Offline Argo

US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Issues
« on: February 01, 2005, 09:30:55 PM »
SUMMARY:
The Copyright Office seeks to examine the issues raised by ``orphan works,'' i.e., copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or even impossible to locate. Concerns have been raised that the uncertainty surrounding ownership of such works might needlessly discourage subsequent creators and users from incorporating such works in new creative efforts or making such works available to the public.
This notice requests written comments from all interested parties. Specifically, the Office is seeking comments on whether there are compelling concerns raised by orphan works that merit a legislative, regulatory or other solution, and what type of solution could effectively address these concerns without conflicting with the legitimate interests of authors and right holders.

DATES: Written comments must be received in the Copyright Office on or before 5 p.m. EST on March 25, 2005. Interested parties may submit written reply comments in direct response to the written comments on or before 5 p.m. on May 9, 2005.

ADDRESSES: All submissions should be addressed to Jule L. Sigall, Associate Register for Policy & International Affairs. Comments may be sent by regular mail or delivered by hand, or sent by electronic mail to the e-mail address ``orphanworks@loc.gov'' (see file formats and information requirements under supplemental information below). Those sent by regular mail should be addressed to the U.S. Copyright Office, Copyright GC/I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Southwest Station, Washington, DC 20024. Submissions delivered by hand should be brought to the Public Information Office, U.S. Copyright Office, James Madison Memorial Building, Room LM-401, 101 Independence Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20540.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Rasenberger, Policy Advisor for Special Programs, Copyright GC/I&R, PO Box 70400, Southwest Station, Washington, DC 20024-0400. Telephone (202) 707-8350; telefax (202) 707-8366.

Read the full notice of inquiry here.
 

Offline Matt_H

Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2005, 12:00:05 AM »
Very interesting... I wonder what will happen?
 

Offline weirdami

Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2005, 02:14:09 AM »
Hopefully nothing.
----
Binding Polymer: Keeping you together since 1892.
 

Offline Argo

Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2005, 04:16:44 AM »
If there is a change, it could benefit abandonware titles by making it so someone could pick up development or make them freely distributable.
 

Offline lempkee

Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2005, 12:56:49 PM »
so basically we are beeing told now to either A: respect orphaned developers/games/apps by saying !NO!   or B: direspect the developers and make every old software abandonware.

so who decides how old something has to be before we should loose respect for it?..

consequences will be big imho...

feel free to explain..im sure i missread the whole news story... as this sounds *off*.
Whats up with all the hate!
 

Offline Lemmink

Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2005, 01:07:35 PM »
I`m sure it will come out this way:

The copyright office will take the poor orphaned titel in his arms give them a new home and you have to pay lizense fees to the copyright office.
Not really interesting, but it`s there.
http://www.lemmink.joice.net
 

Offline Cymric

Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2005, 01:22:44 PM »
@Lempkee: the way I read it was that someone is going to collect opinions---and nothing more---about what to do with material where the original author is (nearly) impossible to get hold of. Whether that means automatically putting it into the public domain is quite another story.

I sense you resent the ideas behind it, but if I am allowed to play the devil's advocate for a moment, the fact that an author could not be tracked down and apparently does not respond to various requests also indicates he has lost respect for his own work too: if he had simply said 'all requests, in whatever form, are denied', the matter would be closed there and then.
Some people say that cats are sneaky, evil and cruel. True, and they have many other fine qualities as well.
 

Offline Plaz

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Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2005, 01:47:35 PM »
@lempkee

If they use the music copyrights as an example, the copyright last for the life of the artist plus 70 years. Copyright Basics
If software is similar, none of use will care when the 1985 version of Elite for the C64 goes public domain in about 2105 :-)
But if they base it on the death date of the company instead of the author, you might cut a few years off and make it available in about 2060  :-P

Plaz
(Disclaimer, My dates are horribly poor estimates  and do not represent any thing useful  8-) )
 

Offline Plaz

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Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2005, 01:51:03 PM »
@Lemmink

Quote
The copyright office will take the poor orphaned titel in his arms give them a new home and you have to pay lizense fees to the copyright office.


They're only a record keeper and don't charge license fees. Now when the lawyers get involved, that's what will break the bank.  :-)

Plaz
 

Offline System

Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2005, 02:05:03 PM »
Essentially speaking, they're trying to figure out what to do about "abandonware".  I doubt it'll have anything to do with a definite time limit, but more to the point whether or not a company has ceased to exist.

As we learned with Amiga Inc's trials and tribulations, it's up to the owner of the trademarks to defend their own trademarks, so I doubt if a company is really dead, that anyone would contest any abuses.

If this isn't a hoax (haven't even looked), then the USPTO is simply asking for public opinion on the matter of abandonware so that they can better figure out what everyone wants to do about it.  I see them at least asking us as a good thing.  

Besides.... Who knows abandonware better than Amigans?  :-)

Wayne
 

Offline redrumloa

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Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2005, 06:16:36 PM »
Hopefully nothing?? Disrespect authors? HUH?

I'll say what everyone is thinking. I hope genuine abandonware is allowed to be freely distributed.

Anyone here going to tell me with a straight face that they think it should be a crime downloading formerly commercial C= PET software, when it has not been available comerically for 25+ years? So what you would be saying is all old computers should tossed. Magnetic media such as 5&1/4" and 8" deteriorate over time. Even if you legally own the original, what good is it to you if it is a crime to get a copy, or the copy is not available due to public fears of piracy crimes?
Someone has to state the obvious and that someone is me!
 

Offline B00tDisk

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Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2005, 09:49:47 PM »
Quote

Hopefully nothing?? Disrespect authors? HUH?

I'll say what everyone is thinking. I hope genuine abandonware is allowed to be freely distributed.

Anyone here going to tell me with a straight face that they think it should be a crime downloading formerly commercial C= PET software, when it has not been available comerically for 25+ years? So what you would be saying is all old computers should tossed. Magnetic media such as 5&1/4" and 8" deteriorate over time. Even if you legally own the original, what good is it to you if it is a crime to get a copy, or the copy is not available due to public fears of piracy crimes?
[/i]


Sadly, it's the mindset of a few that if your original breaks, then too bad.  Never mind the fact that the programmer might not even remember the damn thing, or that the software company who published the original has been scattered to the four winds, etc.  I've noticed this "radical copyright adherence" in comp.sys.amiga.games a lot - even when people own the original but are looking for a cracked version to use in lieu of risking the original.
Back away from the EU-SSR!
 

Offline FastRobPlus

Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2005, 01:56:24 AM »
Red Said:
------------------------------------------
Anyone here going to tell me with a straight face that they think it should be a crime downloading formerly commercial C= PET software, when it has not been available comerically for 25+ years? So what you would be saying is all old computers should tossed. Magnetic media such as 5&1/4" and 8" deteriorate over time.
------------------------------------------

Hmm.... That would be a fitting punishment for the 90+% of people who pirated the software all those years ago, and now clammor that the games are rightfully abandonware.

Uncomfortably fitting.
 

Offline MarkTime

Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2005, 05:11:12 AM »
I was surprised to read this important story here....this is very relevant to some important trends going on in the world of IP rights...(I too have not verified this particular story, but I can tell you this discussion over abandoned works is very much a hotly debated issue these days)

First, understand that abandoned works, are just that...stuff that is totally forgotten about and has no commercial value at all.   This has nothing whatsoever to do with taking money from an author of a work...if it has ANY value of ANY kind, then this isn't what is being discussed....if it has any interest, value, sentimental or otherwise, if anyone remembers it and makes a claim on it...this is NOT what is being discussed.

Sorry, just had to make that clear, because already the comments about 'disrespect'...far from being disrespected, people who want to make available old works...are the opposite, not disrespecting it, but bringing them back to be of benefit to society, and not to be shown the disrespect of being totally forgotten.

Here is the basic idea, that historically speaking there was  a balance between the interest of society and the interest of an author of a work.  And that an author was granted a monopoly interest on their own works, and allowed to profit from that.  The theory being, that it would benefit society to have this monetary incentive to create works (a very sound theory indeed).

Remember, unless you are anti-social...benefitting society is generally the idea of any legislation or law....anyway...but it would also benefit society, eventually to let those works pass into the public domain.  

You see, what happens now...is generations of works are lost forever...'protected' they are...but for whom, and why?   The original idea of protection...to grant a monopoly to the author...can't be the reason because we are talking about works the author has completely abandoned (not to be morbid, but may even be dead)...

so...if there is no reason to do it...why are we doing it?

anyway, I'm rambling...just a quick response.

good story...did someone verify it?
 

Offline Trev

Re: US Copyright Office Examines "Orphan Works" Is
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2005, 07:19:13 AM »
The United States Copyright Office always requests opinions before issuing exemptions to copyright laws. The original copyright laws (i.e. Queen Anne's Law) were drafted to protect authors from unscrupulous publishers. I believe the duration of the original copyright was fourteen years.

While the extent of copyright laws has changed considerably over the years, most nations follow the same basic principles, including the notion of a limited copyright. Personally, I think the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act is out of control. The life of the author plus fifty years was bad enough--seventy years is downright crazy. Given the average life expectancy (in the US) of seventy-five years, that places the duration of the copyright for most works to one hundred fourty-five years. Yikes! But I'm veering off topic. . . .

Anyhow, I do believe that works previously owned by defunct corporations and not transferred to the original creator should be exempted from copyright laws. (Obviously, that doesn't apply to copyrights transferred to a new owner. You all know what I mean.)

Greed, greed is bad. M'kay?

Trev