Thanks, But No Thanks

*This week is Fair Use Week, an annual celebration of the important doctrines of fair use and fair dealing. It is designed to highlight and promote the opportunities presented by fair use and fair dealing, celebrate successful stories, and explain these doctrines.

This post is brought to you by guest blogger, Jonathan Band of policybandwidth*

Over the past decade, policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic have devoted significant attention to finding ways to permit the use of orphan works: works whose copyright owners are difficult to identify or locate. Library associations in both Europe and the United States initially supported these efforts strongly. In Europe, these efforts culminated in the adoption of an Orphan Works Directive in 2012. In the United States, by contrast, legislation stalled in 2008. Although the U.S. Copyright Office continues to push for orphan works legislation, U.S. library associations no longer seek such relief. This is due to changes in the copyright legal landscape, particularly the evolving case law concerning fair use. This paper explores the different trajectories of orphan works legislation in the EU and the United States, with special emphasis on how U.S. libraries changed their position in response to legal developments on the ground.

The full paper is available here.