Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Digital Copyright Problems of Orphan Works: A Comparative Law Perspective

Sally McCausland has published "Getting Broadcaster Archives Online: Orphan Works and Other Copyright Challenges of Clearing Old Cultural Material for Digital Use," in volume 14 of the Media Arts Law Review (2009). Here is the abstract.


This paper explores why copyright clearance issues currently hinder Australian public broadcasters from putting their program archives online, at a time when broadband offers new opportunities for public access. The difficulty of putting program archives online is an example of copyright “gridlock” preventing access to valuable cultural material.

The paper includes case studies of the BBC and NHK Japan who have conducted pilot online archive projects.

The article concludes that the current copyright regime - which is based on an “opt-in” model of individual permissions of all rights-holders, will not facilitate online access to public broadcaster archives on any comprehensive scale. It briefly considers how such access might be achieved if new compulsory statutory licensing schemes or “opt-out” models such as the Google Books Settlement are adopted.

Download the article from SSRN here.

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