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Copyright Office to examine orphan works

Woo hoo!


The Copyright Office seeks to examine the issues raised by "orphan works," that is, copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or even impossible to locate. Uncertainty surrounding ownership of such works might needlessly discourage subsequent creators and users from incorporating them in new creative efforts or making such works available to the public. The Copyright Office requests written
comments from all interested parties on whether there are 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. Comments are due by 5:00 p.m. EST on March 25, 2005. For detailed information on submission requirements and further information, go to the


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Tell the U.S. Copyright Office to look for a solution for the problem of orphan works. Visit OrphanWorks.org before March 25, 2005. [Read More]


i wonder if this would apply to "eyes on the prize", the civil rights documentary?

probably not, since the it's not a case of the producer being unknown; rather, he died and somehow the whole copyright thing is all tangled up in the courts, it seems.

still, this is indeed a great step in the right direction!

(for more info on "eyes on the prize", see http://downhillbattle.org/eyes/ and

oh and yay! you're back! ;)

Hi, Andrea ... thanks for the welcome back!

As I understand it, the issues surrounding "Eyes On The Prize" are a bit different (but if I'm wrong, don't hesitate to let me know). I don't know if any of the archival footage or music used in the documentary could be considered "orphan". I think the issue is just that the rights were purchased for a limited time and have run out. The fact that the producer who researched and negotiated the rights the first time around is dead (and his estate isn't forthcoming with the documentation) is definitely a complication, but that doesn't mean that the owners are nigh well unfindable. Unfortunately, I've not had time to really examine the situation as well as I'd like to, but I hope that will change shortly.

yes, i think you're right - "eyes on the prize" couldn't really be considered an 'orphan' -- though the treatment of this 'child' doesn't seem all that great..