PUBLIC GOOD THEORY: A THEORETICAL JUSTIFICATION FOR PERMISSIVE LICENSE TO USE AND RE-USE ORPHAN WORKS
Keywords:Copyright law, Orphan works, public good theory, licensing, innovation
This paper explores the adoption of Paul Samuelsonâ€™s Public Good Theory as a theoretical justification for a permissive licensing scheme enabling the use, and re-use orphan works in Malaysia. Orphan works are copyright-protected works with unlocatable or unidentified right holders, and are currently on the rise due to the proliferation of unregistered, anonymous, and abandoned copyright works. The literature denotes the challenges arising from the difficulty faced by potential users in obtaining the permission for creative and innovative use of orphan works as required under Copyright law. Such challenges impede the potential use and re-use of orphan works for the purpose of knowledge dissemination, progress in the arts, preservation and digitisation activities. This paper contributes to the current body of knowledge by canvassing two important issues. The first issue focuses on the challenges faced by potential users to use and re-use orphan works in Malaysia. The second is Paul Samuelsonâ€™s Public Good as a theoretical justification for permissive license to use and re-use orphan works. It is anticipated that a legislative reform grounded on Paul Samuelsonâ€™s Public Good Theory will spur grassroots innovations, creativity and entrepreneurialism among members of the public. The permissive licensing scheme supports global calls for legislative reform of copyright law to facilitate the use and reuse of orphan works.