See Authors Guild sues universities over online books (h/t BK Marcus). See also Mike Masnick’s Techdirt post, Why Does The Authors Guild Hate Education So Much? Sues Five Universities For Providing Access To Orphan Works.
The stupidity and maliciousness of the Authors Guild here is staggering. Some university libraries are participating in an Orphan Works Project, an attempt to scan, save and make available older books for whom the author can no longer available–unless the copyright holder shows up, in which case the work is removed. And the Authors Guild is suing them for this? As Masnick writes:
In other words, the only way a book gets displayed through this system is if no copyright holder is found after a fairly extensive process. And if the copyright holder ever shows up, the work is immediately removed. All of this makes me wonder if the Authors Guild can really prove it has standing in this case. If the actual copyright holders cannot be identified, how can the Authors Guild claim standing over these works?
Either way, this is yet another in this long line of disputes in which the Authors Guild is coming out on the wrong side. It’s not helping authors, it’s doing the exact opposite, by acting like a massive luddite, attacking any form of innovation or any system that encourages the reading of books and the sharing of knowledge. Shame on the Authors Guild, who seems to only be living up to the reputation of guilds from the Middle Ages, which were focused on economically-suicidal protectionism, rather than innovation.