With Enough Eyeballs All Searches are Diligent: Mobilizing the Crowd in Copyright Clearance for Mass Digitization

29 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2016 Last revised: 23 Jan 2017

See all articles by Maurizio Borghi

Maurizio Borghi

Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM)

Kris Erickson

University of Leeds

Marcella Favale

Bournemouth University

Date Written: July 7, 2016


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.

Keywords: Oprhan Works, Mass Digitisation, Cultural Heritage, Crowdsourcing

Suggested Citation

Borghi, Maurizio and Erickson, Kristofer and Favale, Marcella, With Enough Eyeballs All Searches are Diligent: Mobilizing the Crowd in Copyright Clearance for Mass Digitization (July 7, 2016). Chicago-Kent Journal of Intellectual Property, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2806145 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2806145

Maurizio Borghi (Contact Author)

Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM) ( email )

Bournemouth University
Fern Barrow
Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cippm.org.uk

Kristofer Erickson

University of Leeds ( email )

School of Media and Communication
Leeds, Yorkshire LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

Marcella Favale

Bournemouth University ( email )

Fern Barrow
Poole BH12 5BB, Dorset BH8 8EB
United Kingdom

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