Orphan Works


The Copyright Office is reviewing the problem of orphan works under U.S. copyright law in continuation of its previous work on the subject and to advise Congress on possible next steps for the United States. The Office has long shared the concern with many in the copyright community that the uncertainty surrounding the ownership status of orphan works does not serve the objectives of the copyright system. For good faith users, orphan works are a frustration, a liability risk, and a major cause of gridlock in the digital marketplace. The issue is not contained to the United States. Indeed, a number of foreign governments have recently adopted or proposed solutions.


During its review, the Office requested comments and held public roundtables in Washington, D.C., on March 10–11, 2014, which were videotaped and transcribed. During these roundtables, the Office heard a variety of viewpoints on a wide range of issues impacting orphan works and mass digitization efforts.