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Orphan Works Update, December 8, 2008

The U. S. House of Representatives will reconvene on Tuesday, December 9th, 2008 for a "Lame Duck Session;" one in which Congress sometimes meets in even numbered years after the November general election, and includes those members who lost their bid for re-election, but continue to vote on legislation before their term expires at the end of 2008.
The House Judiciary Committee Chairman, John Conyers, will abolish the subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property which has been chaired by Cong. Howard Berman, who authored the House Orphan Works bill.  Cong. Berman will become Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
At this point, it appears likely that Orphan Works will not be among the priorities to be addressed during the Lame Duck Session.  If more pressing legislative matters continue to require attention, there should be no further activity on the House Orphan Works bill for the remainder of 2008.  Thereafter, if the Orphan Works concept persists, new bills would be required in the House and in the Senate, and the process would begin anew.
It should be remembered that although Sen. Patrick Leahy's Orphan Works bill passed the Senate on September 26th, 2008 through a controversial technique called "hotlining," it was not actually voted on by the Senate, but rather simply not objected to by any Senator after approval by the two key Senate leaders.

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