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Re: Markets Declare Truce in Copyright Wars (from Wall St Journal)

This article is also misleading in that it suggests that 
publishers had, prior to the Google settlement, resisted the 
advance of technology because of concerns about copyright. Au 
contraire, publishers generally embraced technology as a way of 
making much more content more widely available, but reasonably 
insisted that mechanisms be established to pay fees for uses 
beyond those that could qualify as "fair use." Authors and 
publishers disputed Google's attempt to subvert traditional 
copyright law and practice where permission for use needs to be 
sought in advance, not given after the use has already been made. 
The settlement completely accepts this "opt in" principle for all 
books that are in copyright and in print. It reaches a reasonable 
compromise for books that are in copyright but out of print, 
providing payment for all such titles already in the system 
unless the copyright owners decide to opt of of the settlement 
altogether or withdraw certain titles from the system. This is 
similar to the approach adopted in the proposed "orphan works" 

With regard to which, this article quotes Larry Lessig to this 
effect: Lessig "says the registry is a huge breakthrough because 
it ends uncertainty. 'Establishing who owns what is real 
progress,' he says. 'An efficient solution can be found once 
there is settling of property rights.'" Amazingly, Lessig seems 
to think that the proposed new Book Registry will solve all the 
problems of who owns what in the digital world of publishing. But 
that is not what the Registry will do at all. It will simply 
provide a mechanism for settling disputes over who owns what that 
are brought to it within the scope of what is encompassed in the 
settlement agreement. In fact, the burden of determining the 
disposition of rights falls squarely on publishers (and authors), 
large and small alike, and this is potentially a huge burden 
indeed. The settlement provides not a penny to pay for all the 
costs of researching rights ownership, which can be very complex 
for some books. And it totally excludes the complications 
involved for books with illustrations (except children's books) 
by excluding images from the scope of the settlement entirely. 
Lessig's optimism about what the Registry will accomplish for 
clarification here is badly misplaced.

Sandy Thatcher
Penn State University Press

>"Technology and copyright law have been at odds since the
>beginning of the digital era...But content owners are finally
>realizing they're better off helping their customers use digital
>media than trying to stop the march of technology."
>Bernie Sloan
>Sora Associates
>Bloomington, IN