I saw this article in the Atlantic a week or so ago. The digital Campus podcast talked about this issue in the past episode as well. The Authors Guild is filing suit against HathiTrust, a group of university who is digitizing orphan works and making them available to their faculty and students. It sounds like the reason they are doing this is because they went after Google when they tried the same thing. It’s a shame these orphan works aren’t going to generate much income in the commercial sense, but they could be a treasure trove of information for scholars. I hope that these parties can reach some sort of agreement that will allow these works to eventually be publicly available for those who wish to learn from them.
Also on a side note the Authors Guild did find a book “The Lost Country” by J.R. Salamanca. Personally, I would like to know how many names they had to Google before they found that one. In my opinion I don’t think it’s likely that the first name they Googled was a mistake.