The Credit crunch and bail out of the US banking system is bad news but it has given us some good news. Due to the emergency rush to pass the $700 billion bailout legislation the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008 has had to be dropped.
Last week the Senate passed the bill but the rescheduling of the House of Representatives means that it will not be take up until after the election.
The act changes the rules by which works whose owners can’t be located can effectively be ‘land grabbed’ with a ‘we tried to contact them’ post it note. We believe as others that this quick adoption encourages infringement. It could be viewed as a licence to ‘scan first and ask later’ and as more people look to republish older works it makes that ‘grey’ area between public domain and in print even more inviting.
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