Small Business Reading Room

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

U.S. Copyright Office - Orphan Works

United States Copyright Office

During 2005, the Copyright Office studied issues raised by "orphan works" — copyrighted works whose owners may be impossible to identify and locate. Concerns had been raised that the uncertainty surrounding ownership of such works might needlessly discourage subsequent creators and users from incorporating such works in new creative efforts, or from making such works available to the public.

The US Copyright Office has released its report on orphan works. The report proposes new legislative language that would reduce potential liability for use of works where the copyright owner cannot be located following a diligent search.

Full Report with Appendices
Main Text (no appendices)

The Copyright Office issued a Federal Register Notice summarizing issues raised by orphan works, and soliciting written comments from all interested parties.

The Office asked specifically whether there were compelling concerns raised by orphan works that merit a legislative, regulatory, or other solution, and if so, what type of solution could effectively address these concerns without conflicting with the legitimate interests of authors and right holders.

Initial comments received were posted here. Reply comments received were posted here.


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