- Report on Orphan Works. Jan. 2006Chapter 1-3. http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/orphan-report.pdf
- Hirtle. Copyright and Cultural Institutions. pp. 171-172.
- Society of American Archivists. Orphan Works: Statement of Best Practices, http://www.archivists.org/standards/OWBP-V4.pdf
With the changes in copyright law in the United States, there are works whose copyright status is unknown. In addition, there are works where the copyright owner cannot be found. When both of those conditions exist in the same work the problem seems insurmountable. Rather than ignoring works that seem to be in limbo, we need to learn how to work with what we know. In doing that, it is important to have a firm grounding in the law. For example, sections 107 and 108 can provide circumstances where orphan works can be used without seeking permission.
The Copyright Office has studied this problem and there have been attempts at defining a process that could become law. Those that deal with orphan works do not want the process to onerous, and some proposed processes have been just that. If we can come to an easy to implement solution, that all parties agree on, then I hope it will become law.
By the way, I know that the phrase is "orphan works", but I often say "orphaned works". I'm betting that I'm not the only one who does that!