OCLC has announced the WorldCat Copyright Evidence Registry beta, a union catalog of copyright information.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
The WorldCat Copyright Evidence Registry is a community working together to build a union catalog of copyright evidence based on WorldCat, which contains more than 100 million bibliographic records describing items held in thousands of libraries worldwide. In addition to the WorldCat metadata, the Copyright Evidence Registry uses other data contributed by libraries and other organizations.
Digitization projects continue for books in the public domain, but books whose copyright status is unknown are destined to remain in print and on shelves until their status can be determined. The process to determine copyright status can be lengthy and labor intensive. The goal of the Copyright Evidence Registry is to encourage a cooperative environment to discover, create and share copyright evidence through a collaboratively created and maintained database, using the WorldCat cooperative model to eliminate duplicate efforts. . . .
The Copyright Evidence Registry six-month pilot was launched July 1 to test the concept and functionality. Users can search the Copyright Evidence Registry to find information about a book, learn what others have said about its copyright status, and share what they know. . . .
During a later stage of the pilot, OCLC will add a feature enabling pilot libraries to create and run automated copyright rules conforming to standards they define for determining copyright status. The rules will help libraries analyze the information available in the Copyright Evidence Registry and form their own conclusions about copyright status.