September 16th, 2011
The close and welcome scrutiny of the list of potential orphan works has
revealed a number of errors, some of them serious. This tells us that our pilot
process is flawed.
Having learned from our mistakes—we are, after all, an educational
institution—we have already begun an examination of our procedures to identify
the gaps that allowed volumes that are evidently not orphan works to be added
to the list. Once we create a more robust, transparent, and fully documented
process, we will proceed with the work, because we remain as certain as ever
that our proposed uses of orphan works are lawful and important to the future
of scholarship and the libraries that support it.
It was always our belief that we would be more likely to succeed with the
cooperation and assistance of authors and publishers. This turns out to be
correct. The widespread dissemination of the list has had the intended effect:
rights holders have been identified, which is in fact the project’s primary
goal. And as a result of the design of our process, our mistakes have not
resulted in the exposure of even one page of in-copyright material.