The British Library apparently hasn’t gotten the message–the UK Parliament voted down an orphan works clause in the Digital Economy Act (Clause 43, to be precise) that was even worse than the horror that Google and Public Knowledge tried to foist off on unsuspecting photographers, illustrators, artists and songwriters in the US a couple years ago.
The “Stop 43” organization (a group that all photographers, illustrators and visual artists) should know about) has released its own recommendations for an orphan works approach for the new coalition government of David Cameron and Nick Clegg.
“Big Culture” of course is behaving mysteriously like the Leviathan of Mountain View–but they’re not Google. (“Big Culture” is what Stop 43 calls the British Library and the huge galleries, museums, government organizations trying to profit themselves from an orphan works bill.)
Paul Ellis of Stop 43 tells The Register that “The British Library [acts] as if Clause 43 had been enacted. Unfortunately for them [it wasn’t]”
“Big Culture has looked at Google and wants to do the same thing. They just want to get on digitizing and build up a head of steam. Then nobody will be able to do anything about it.”
The good news for Brits is that the British Library isn’t also melding the digitized works into their search algorithm, translation software and other products so that even if you were able to get an injunction against scanning you would need a very technologically erudite judge indeed to be able to craft an injunction to completely unwind the benefits that Google has already stolen out the back door.
Unless, of course, that the reason the British Library acts like Google is because they are acting for Google. That sounds like some information that an enterprising Brit might be able to find out.
And of course, Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s former worldwide head of corporate lobbying and now senior white house official recently reprimanded for lobbying for Google from the Obama White House, would be there to help.
See also: Fire McLaughlin
See also: Conflict Search
See also: Sergey Brin: Monopsonist Book Enthusiast
See also: Google Books: How Bad is the Metadata?