I wonder if you’ve seen any of the coverage of the Author’s Guild vs the HathiTrust case (in case not there is a round up of it here)? The AG, by identifying candidates that should not be considered as potential orphan works, have been attempting to show that the HathiTrust’s process of identifying orphan works is not fulfilling it’s due diligence as effectively as it should. As such this represents a serious threat to any efforts intended to address the problem of orphaned works. The British Library estimates that about 40% of in-copyright works are orphaned and so the issue for scholarship is acute.
As pointed out here the efforts the AG are going to are actually showing that the system works (when you have enough eyes, of course – as they now do) but it could do with some improvement. The titles they’ve identified so far have been removed from the candidates list which is given here and reproduced on their blog that I linked to above.
I’m just wondering if there’s any mileage in learning from the successes of this crowdsourcing effort and using it to compile a more effective set of tools for working out if a work is truly an orphan work, certainly one better than the HathiTrust have outlined. In particular the sources that those helping with the current crowdsourcing effort are using seem to speed up the process considerably. Might it be useful to set up an EtherPad to help compile this information? Would you know of anyone who might like to help crowdsourcing rights holders, crowdsourcing the process or who might benefit from having information about these resources?