The US Copyright Office is seeking comment on a mechanism to deal with copyright on orphan works. I don’t know what the solution is here, but it’s certainly important with copyrights running to 75 years plus. We don’t want to see knowledge lost or wasted because the “owner” can’t or won’t be found.
The Copyright Office seeks to examine the issues raised by â€œorphan works,â€? i.e., copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or even impossible to locate. Concerns have 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 making such works available to the public. This notice requests written comments from all interested parties. Specifically, the Office is seeking comments on whether there are compelling concerns raised by orphan works that merit a legislative, regulatory or other solution, and what type of solution could effectively address these concerns without conflicting with the legitimate interests of authors and right holders.
Pointer from Lessig Blog which I happened to be reading because they named a character on tonights West Wing “Professor Lawrence Lessig”.