Earlier this year, BookFinder.com submitted a comment about the problem of orphaned works to the US Copyright Office. Orphan works are copyrighted materials whose owners are difficult or impossible to locate, meaning they can no longer be purchased, reprinted, cited at length, or otherwise built upon.
I was trying to find the hours of a restaurant near BookFinder.com’s office, when I stumbled onto a submission from the restaurant’s web developer (PDF), telling the story of her failed attempts to contact the illustrator of an out-of-print book. The restaurant staff had apparently wanted to use a certain image from the book as part of their website design, but they weren’t able to contact the artist or publisher to get any kind of an answer.
It’s one thing to read submissions online, but the scope of the problem really hits home when even our local pasta shop is speaking out about copyright law reform.Posted by Anirvan