Copyright Office Reports Results of Public Inquiry on Mass Digitization Pilot Program
Issue No. 685 - October 4, 2017
The U.S. Copyright Office has submitted a letter to Congress reporting the results of the Office’s public inquiry on establishing a pilot program to facilitate the mass digitization of books and other copyrighted works. The inquiry followed the June 2015 publication of the Office’s report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization, which proposed extended collective licensing (ECL) as a means of enabling the large-scale clearance of rights necessary for such projects. Because the United States lacks experience with such a system, the report recommended that ECL initially take the form of a limited pilot program. In addition, noting that stakeholder support is essential for ECL to succeed, the Office published a Federal Register notice inviting public input on the appropriate structure and operation of a pilot program. In response, the Office received more than eighty written comments from a wide range of interested parties.
In its letter, the Office reports that the comments indicate an overall lack of stakeholder consensus on key elements of an ECL pilot program. Therefore, the Office concludes that the submission of proposed legislation to Congress would be premature at this time. The Office, however, continues to believe that ECL offers a viable solution for mass digitization projects and stands ready to assist stakeholders in developing consensus-based legislation should Congress wish to pursue further discussion in this area.
The letter, public comments, and background material are available on the Copyright Office website at https://www.copyright.gov/policy/massdigitization/.