The National Geographic Society simply intended to offer an innovative digital product to consumers—its complete archives in digital format—when it released The Complete National Geographic CD-ROM. The CD-ROM, however, had a much different impact as well. The litigation that followed its release, in particular Greenberg v. National Geographic Society, offered publishers‘ some clarity in regard to the scope of section 201(c) rights to reproduce collective works in digital formats. Greenberg, however, did not address the full range of copyright issues that publishers and freelance contributors alike encounter in reproducing collective works in new digital formats brought about by advances in technology. To further clarify publishers‘ section 201(c) rights, Congressional intervention is necessary to amend the Copyright Act to redefine section 201(c) to expressly include new digital media revisions as privileged. In addition, Congress should create a compulsory licensing system that gives a publisher a statutory rate at which it can republish contributions to a collective work.
Jason Koransky, Magazine Publishers Exhale: Exploiting Collective Works After Greenberg, 9 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 161 (2009)