Two interesting developments regarding orphan works in the aftermath of the latest Google Books ruling:
The University of Michigan is undertaking a project to identify copyright owners of “orphan works”.
What Michigan is doing is “detective work,” as Ms. Levine puts it. She has students probing in-copyright works from 1923 to 1963. They’re trying to determine ownership and, in the event that isn’t possible, documenting the dead ends that led them to conclude a work is orphaned.
In addition, the Library Copyright Alliance, issued a joint statement (ALA, ACRL, and ARL) indicating that a legislative solution to the orphan works issues may not be possible, and that recent rulings indicate that mass digitization projects may be better served by relying on fair use.