Amoeba’s new effort to digitize out-of-print music operates in a bizarre legal loophole that few have bothered to figure out. It could turn into a legal headache, but there is some doubt that anyone would actually choose to pursue legal action. In essence, it’s a “potential time bomb.” Via boing boing:

Nonetheless, copyright in the United States has already locked up so much material intended to assist in the progress of science and the useful arts beyond the intended brief monopoly that ignoring orphaned works and allowing the status quo to persist would be a colossal mistake. Amoeba’s efforts may yield it only hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it’s clearly partly a labor of love. But one vindicative rightsholder could make life exceedingly unpleasant for the record-store chain, and pursue maximum statutory damages regardless of all of Amoeba’s good faith.

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