It seems simple enough to me. For example, there might be authors of copyrighted books who might not be members of the Author's Guild. The Guild has no right to negotiate an agreement for those non-members. Some of those authors might be represented by another organization which was not a party to the negotiations. Some authors may be independents. There was no mention of family trust funds for deceased authors. There are too many variables for a rock solid agreement.
I agree Johnny... and if this is the ruling, I believe the Authors Guild and assoc. should return that settlement money... but we'll never see that happen.
I'm on the fence about this. On one hand yeah, I do want to see books that have been out of print forever ago, and the copyright holder doesn't care to bring it back. On the other hand, who's to say the copyright holder won't bring it back. This happened to one of my favorite books: "Maya the Bee" I found a hard copy from 1964 by luck. If I hadn't found it, too bad, I would not have had the opportunity to read it for X amount of years. However this last year a publisher bought the rights and started print again. Perhaps instead of an opt out program, they should have an opt-in program, maybe with an incentive for copywrite holders to opt in.
This is ridiculous - the book publishers should be given the same sort of system that music has had for years: compulsory licensing, administered by the Copyright Office and designates (for instance, the Harry Fox Agency for music).
Otherwise the result is far *more* likely to produce monopolies, as only truly giant companies like Google will be able to handle the legal hassles involved in millions of individual license agreements.
The book copyright problem with orphaned works is something that congress will have to fix. That's correct - the same congress that hasn't fixed anything for several decades. In other words, it won't be fixed and these works will probably end up forgotten or supporting another generation of copyright lawyers.