subtitled “a conference on law and the future of books”  New York Law School, like Cornell Law School, puts on a good conference.

This day and a half conference was divided into six panels all beginning with In Re.  The panels, which had all the right people ( Jessica Litman, Pam Samuelson)discussed rights holders, bookstores, libraries, readers, the backlist [out of print books and “orphan works”[ works where the rights holder is unknown]] [[[ The “” and  [[  are a visual representation of how complicated the  in re books law is ]]] [[[[no more brackets I promise]]]]and everything.**

Copyright, and I learned antitrust law, is an acquired taste, and even if you’ve already acquired the taste,  your head still spins. Was I grateful when one speaker explained that the “agency model” = “price fixing” ! What I  reveled in was being in a room of people who love books regardless of the format they prefer to read them in.  My conclusion from listening to the back and forth is that the book as a concept will survive but its future will not be in print form.

* New York Law School, like Newark, suffers from an unfair bad reputation.  The organizer of this conference, James Grimmelman, is brilliant; the school has been lights years ahead of other schools in helping their students with the practical aspects of law like applying for the bar exam.

** Note on zombification of the law [see earlier post], orphan works were compared to zombies.

If you’re not a copyright nerd, you can stop reading here.

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Ah, you’re a copyright nerd!

The organizers of the conference strategically placed the discussion of orphan works on Saturday morning.  When last heard from,  legislation had been unsuccessfully introduced to solve the can I/should I problem of orphan works emphasizing diligent inquiry and limited remedies.  The renewed discussion seems to emphasize a registry solution.

The Copyright Act of 1976 unformalized the law of copyright by equating copyright with being fixed instead of using a copyright notice.  As a result, would be users have to worry about using copyrighted work when the creator probably doesn’t care about the copyright. Pam Samuelson let out a tantalizing hint that there is talk of reestablishing formalities.

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