Orphan work

An orphan work is a copyright-protected work for which rightsholders are positively indeterminate or uncontactable. Sometimes the names of the originators or rightsholders are known, yet it is impossible to contact them because additional details cannot be found.[1] A work can become orphaned through rightsholders being unaware of their holding, or by their demise (e.g. deceased persons or defunct companies) and establishing inheritance has proved impracticable.[2] In other cases, comprehensively diligent research fails to determine any authors, creators or originators for a work. Since 1989, the amount of orphan works in the United States has increased dramatically since some works are published anonymously, assignments of rights are not required to be disclosed publicly, and registration is optional and, thus, many works' statuses with respect to who holds which rights remain unknown to the public even when those rights are being actively exploited by authors or other rightsholders.[3]

  1. ^ Borgman, Christine L. (2007). Scholarship in the digital age: information, infrastructure, and the internet. MIT Press. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-262-02619-2.
  2. ^ In from the Cold: An assessment of the scope of 'Orphan Works' and its impact on the delivery of services to the public (PDF). JISC Collections Trust. April 2009. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-11-18. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  3. ^ National Writers Union (March 5, 2021). "NWU comments on discussion draft, Digital Copyright Act (DCA) of 2021" (PDF).

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