annieBack in October 2012 I posted a link to the Copyright Office’s notice seeking public comment on “the current state of play for orphan works” as part of its continuing review of the subject and “in order to advise Congress as to possible next steps for the United States.”  That notice included a very fair and concise summary of the orphan works problem and I continue to commend it to your attention.  The Copyright Office has now posted nearly 100 comments that it received, and they also make for interesting reading.  Indeed, a perusal of these comments will provide a rather nice overview of the major stakeholders in the copyright wars.  Predictably, the comments range from those (such as the Society of American Archivists’) that consider the orphan work problem a major bottleneck in the free flow of ideas and would impose greater formalities and burdens on copyright owners if they wish to enforce their claims, to those (like the Artists Rights Society’s), which suggest the problem is really quite minimal and that those who wish to use orphaned material should be left to do so at their own peril.

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