Maurizio Borghi, Kris Erickson and Marcella Favale “With enough eyeballs all searches are diligent: Mobilizing the crowd in copyright clearance for mass digitization”. Journal of Intellectual Property, 9 (1) (2017), 135-166
Digitization of 20th Century cultural heritage is severely restricted due to the real or potential subsistence of copyright and related rights. Under the laws on orphan works introduced in many countries, items whose copyright status is uncertain may possibly be lawfully digitized, on condition that a “diligent search” of the copyright owners has been performed. However, carrying out diligent searches on large collections is a lengthy and expensive process, which may discourage institutional users from embarking on large-scale digitization. While the problem of performing diligent searches has been so far approached in a “centralized” manner by individual institutions, the article suggests a de-centralized approach based on crowdsourcing certain phases of the diligent search process. The proposed solution may alleviate the problem of the high costs of diligent search, and may ultimately enable cultural heritage institutions to take full advantage of the orphan works legislation. Suitability of the crowdsourcing solution to the cultural heritage sector is discussed and challenges to implementation are identified.