This week, Patrick Boyle, Patrick McCormick and Professor Lerner of the USC IP & Tech Law Clinic spoke at the Library of Congress on behalf of the International Documentary Association and Film Independent at a series of roundtable sessions hosted by the United States Copyright Office regarding the orphan works problem in copyright.
Orphan works are works that are clearly protected by copyright but for which the owner cannot be identified or located. Independent documentary and narrative filmmakers often seek to create new works that incorporate other works, but cannot find the rightsholder, and when that happens, that can prevent the use altogether.
At these roundtables, we spoke about a solution that would protect rightsholders while permitting uses of orphan works for creators and users who have conducted a good faith diligent search for the owner. With such a solution, filmmakers such as members of IDA and FIND–along with many other communities–would be able to make their films, find more rightsholders, and when no rightsholder can be found, use orphan works without fear of crushing liability or an injunction that would stop the project in its tracks.
You can read more about our work on the orphan works issue here: http://iptlc.usc.edu/index.php/clinic-submits-reply-comment-on-orphan-works-and-mass-digitization-to-u-s-copyright-office/
Read more about the roundtable here:http://copyright.gov/orphan/