Prof. Samuelson Renews Call for Copyright Legislation
Law professor and copyright expert Pamela Samuelson, who we’ve written about here before, recently participated in webinar moderated by Publishers Weekly on the rejection of the Google Book Settlement. During the panel, she called on the parties involved to reach a new settlement and, more importantly, for the US Copyright Office to get involved so that fundamental copyright reforms can be had through legislation, not litigation. Noting that Judge Chin indicated a preference for a new settlement premised on opt-in, she went on to say that “the [U.S.] Copyright Office is the best entity to find out what the parties want and what may be a good model for legislation.” This jibes with what Judge Chin wrote in his opinion rejecting the GBS when he said, “… the establishment of a mechanism for exploiting unclaimed books is a matter more suited for Congress than this Court. . . . The questions of who should be entrusted with guardianship over orphan books, under what terms, and with what safeguards are matters more appropriately decided by Congress than through an agreement among private, self-interested parties.” We’ve long argued (as has Prof. Samuelson) that the GBS represented a mechanism to sidestep Congressional authority over copyright reform, and we rejoin her call for orphan book legislation now that the flawed GBS has been rejected.