Digitizing books: Adopting the orphan works

It is a trope in science fiction that we will do all our reading electronically. In the future, so the image goes, all books will have been digitized, and we will be able to pull up any book to our reader device, anywhere, any time. This would be a tremendous gain for opportunity and equality, since it would give any reader, anywhere, access to the equivalent of a great library collection. We are close to achieving that vision, and the barriers that remain are all legal, not technical. The biggest challenge is the so-called orphan works. Congress could solve this problem by adopting the orphan works.