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Title: Rebirth of Opt-in System in Copyright: Analysis in the Light of ‘Google Books’ Controversy
Authors: Ahmad, Tabrez
Choudhury, Pratik Priyadarshi
Keywords: Opt-in;Opt-out;Google;Takedown;Copyright
Issue Date: Nov-2011
Publisher: NISCAIR-CSIR, India
Abstract: The recent copyright controversy, the Google Books litigation, has revived interest in the role that opt-in requirements can play in copyright law. Google Books sought to make every book in the English language text-searchable. To realize this goal, however, Google intended to scan the text of each such book – thereby making a copy – the right to which was vested in different persons around the world. This number of persons amounted to millions and gaining access to all was an onerous task. So, when the company failed to get permission from all the copyright owners, it gave two options to the authors either to opt-out of the copyright or agree to it by as per the result of a class action litigation. In both these circumstances, the user of the copyright had the right to exploit, without authorization, unless the copyright holder took affirmative action. It is the essence of opt-in system in copyright which reared its head once more along with this controversy. This paper critically examines the protection regime in copyright law and the philosophy of protection given to any author over his/her original creation in the light of the above mentioned controversy bearing a potential impact over the fair use doctrine in copyright law. In the present context of highly digitalized society, the dilemma is whether an opt-out system is the need of the hour or the opt-in system should regain its place.
Page(s): 500-508
ISSN: 0975-1076 (Online); 0971-7544 (Print)
Appears in Collections:JIPR Vol.16(6) [November 2011]

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