The government should not run these registries. They are the sort of thing that the Googles and Microsofts of the world should do. Rather, the government should establish the minimal protocols for these registries, and permit registrars to compete to service that registry. As with the domain name system for the Internet (and the companies that sell TNR.com and the like), these competing registrars would keep the cost low, and have a constant incentive to innovate to make the value they add better than their competitors.
January 26, 2010
What the copyright system might learn from the domain name industry
In a very interesting (as usual) piece, Lawrence Lessig makes the case against the Google Books settlement. In the third part, he explains why it would be good to have something like "voluntary copyright registry". And goes on to say: