Friday, September 18, 2009

Image Registry Role In Google Book-Orphan Works Argument

Some supporters of the Google Book Settlement are using the argument that the Settlement should be approved because no image registry exists and none will soon. Ironic, for sure, since our image registry AKA The Copyright Registry is live online with millions of images and is growing fast.

There have been over 400 opinions sent to Federal Judge Chin for his consideration in evaluating the Settlement. Many have been formal amicus curiae briefs ("friend of the court"). One in particular exemplifies this argument. It is from a trade association in the photo space that makes its primary argument that the Settlement should be approved because there is no image registry. Their brief says, "... no registry of photographs currently exists and none is even on the horizon." Their argument continues to say, "the precedential value of a book registry could serve as a powerful stimulus for the creation of a photograph registry and a step toward the resolution of the current photographic image orphan works issue."

While we completely agree that a free and open registry such as The Copyright Registry is the most logical solution to industry woes, I find it ironic that the best argument available to support the Orphan Works Act and the Google Book Settlement is that no such registry exists or is even on the horizon.

I felt it important that Judge Chin have complete and accurate information on which to base his decision. Accordingly, I wrote him about our registry. Here's the open letter to Judge Chin concerning image registries and Google Book Settlement.

Randy Taylor

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