28 Research Library Issues 292 — 2017 On September 13, 2011, the Authors Guild, joined by several international partners and eight individual authors filed a lawsuit claiming that the Orphan Works Project was “an upsetting and outrageous attempt to dismiss authors’ rights,” and going on to say “[t]hese aren’t orphaned books, they’re abducted books.”4 The lawsuit arose after a series of revelations by the Authors Guild that several books on “Orphan Row” had identifiable, authors, publishers, or estates.5 Shortly after, the University of Michigan suspended the Orphan Works Project, “pledg[ing] to re- examine its procedures and create a ‘more robust, transparent, and fully documented process’ and continue the project.”6 What happened in the five months between the inception of this bold, ambitious, even audacious, project and its untimely end? As a staff member and contributor to the Orphan Works Project I have done a good deal of thinking on the subject. During the time of the project I was a member of the University of Michigan Library Copyright Office, working as a relatively newly minted copyright librarian. I was one of several staff members responsible for the idea, one of many staff members responsible for the design and implementation, and one of many staff members ultimately responsible for the failure of the project. This essay is an attempt for me to make sense of what happened, to see my role in what transpired, and to provide potential lessons for other librarians who desire a little audacity for themselves. Idea, Inception, Execution At the core, the Orphan Works Project (OWP) was a big and bold idea that grew from a very reasonable set of assumptions. The data derived from the CRMS project seemed to suggest that a good number of works in the HathiTrust Digital Library were orphaned: of the Association of Research Libraries This essay is an attempt for me to make sense of what happened, to see my role in what transpired, and to provide potential lessons for other librarians who desire a little audacity for themselves.