SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) Sept 29 -- As the media turned its attention last weekend to battles on Capitol Hill over the fate of the proposed Wall Street bailout bill, Internet companies including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. quietly walked away with a legislative victory that could facilitate their use of copyrighted material.
The Senate on Friday passed the Orphan Works Act of 2008, legislation that weakens copyright protection for works whose owners cannot be located. The legislation has now been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
The legislation requires only that a company make a "reasonably diligent" search to locate a copyright owner before using their work in media including the Internet, and limits compensation required for the use of an infringed work.
-By John Letzing, MarketWatch Sept. 29, 2008
2. Google Acknowledges Copyright Infringement Claims Could Harm Business
ILLUSTRATORS PARTNERSHIP Sept 30 -- In March 2007, Google filed a mandatory 10-Q Filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In it, they acknowledged: "copyright claims filed against us [by copyright owners] alleging that features of certain of our products and services, including Google Web Search, Google News, Google Video, Google Image Search, Google Book Search and YouTube, infringe their rights."
Google admitted that "[a]dverse results in these lawsuits may include awards of substantial monetary damages, costly royalty or licensing agreements or orders preventing us from offering certain functionalities, and may also result in a change in our business practices, which could result in a loss of revenue for us or otherwise harm our business." (Italics added.)
--Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, Illustrators Partnership
3. Google Sees Value in Orphan Works
ILLUSTRATORS PARTNERSHIP March 8, 2006 -- At the Copyright Office's Orphan Works Roundtables, July 26-27, 2005, Alexander MacGilivray of Google stated:
"The thing that I would encourage the Copyright Office to consider is not just the very, very small scale -the one user who wants to make use of the [orphan] work - but also the very, very large scale - and talking in the millions of works. - page 21
"Google strongly believes that these orphan works are both worthwhile, useful, and extremely valuable." - page 119
"We expect that our use of these orphan works will likely be in the 1 million works range..." (Italics added.) - page 166
"[W]e know that many of them [orphan works] will be in the public domain, that most of their authors won't care. But there are a few [authors] that really will care and they will come forward [to claim authorship] and it will be extremely inefficient for us." (Italics added.) -page 166
(Page numbers are from Copyright Office transcripts.)
Orphan Works Roundtables were held by the US Copyright Office July 26-7, 2005 in Washington DC
4. Google Donates $3 Million to U.S. Library of Congress
Australian IT Nov 23, 2005 -- The U.S. Library of Congress is kicking off a campaign to work with other nation's libraries to build a World Digital Library, starting with a $US3 million donation from Google.
-Eric Auchard in San Francisco | November 23, 2005