[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 16 (Wednesday, January 26, 2005)]
[Pages 3739-3743]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-1434]



Copyright Office

Orphan Works

AGENCY: Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

ACTION: Notice of inquiry.


SUMMARY: The Copyright Office seeks to examine the issues raised by 
``orphan works,'' i.e., copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or 
even impossible to locate. Concerns have been raised that the 
uncertainty surrounding ownership of such works might needlessly 
discourage subsequent creators and users from incorporating such works 
in new creative efforts or making such works available to the public. 
This notice requests written comments from all interested parties. 
Specifically, the Office is seeking comments on whether there are 
compelling concerns raised by orphan works that merit a legislative, 
regulatory or other solution, and what type of solution could 
effectively address these concerns without conflicting with the 
legitimate interests of authors and right holders.

DATES: Written comments must be received in the Copyright Office on or 
before 5 p.m. EST on March 25, 2005. Interested parties may submit 
written reply comments in direct response to the written comments on or 
before 5 p.m. on May 9, 2005.

ADDRESSES: All submissions should be addressed to Jule L. Sigall, 
Associate Register for Policy & International Affairs. Comments may be 
sent by regular mail or delivered by hand, or sent by electronic mail 
to the e-mail address ``[email protected]'' (see file formats and 
information requirements under supplemental information below). Those 
sent by regular mail should be addressed to the U.S. Copyright Office, 
Copyright GC/I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Southwest Station, Washington, DC 
20024. Submissions delivered by hand should be brought to the Public 
Information Office, U.S. Copyright Office, James Madison Memorial 
Building, Room LM-401, 101 Independence Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Rasenberger, Policy Advisor for 
Special Programs, Copyright GC/I&R, PO Box 70400, Southwest Station, 
Washington, DC 20024-0400. Telephone (202) 707-8350; telefax (202) 707-


File Formats and Required Information

    1. If by electronic mail: Send to ``[email protected]'' a message 
containing the name of the person making the submission, his or her 
title and organization (if the submission is on behalf of an 
organization), mailing address, telephone number, telefax number (if 
any) and e-mail address. The message should also identify the document 
clearly as either a comment or reply comment. The document itself must 
be sent as a MIME attachment, and must be in a single file in either: 
(1) Adobe Portable Document File (PDF) format (preferred); (2) 
Microsoft Word 2000 or earlier; (3) WordPerfect 8.0 or earlier; (4) 
Rich Text File (RTF) format; or (5) ASCII text file format.
    2. If by regular mail or hand delivery: Send, to the appropriate 
address listed above, two copies of the comment, each on a 3.5-inch 
write-protected diskette, labeled with the name of the person making 
the submission and, if applicable, his or her title and organization. 
Either the document itself or a cover letter must also include the name 
of the person making the submission, his or her title and organization 
(if the submission is on behalf of an organization), mailing

[[Page 3740]]

address, telephone number, telefax number (if any) and e-mail address 
(if any). The document itself must be in a single file in either (1) 
Adobe Portable Document File (PDF) format (preferred); (2) Microsoft 
Word 2000 or earlier; (3) WordPerfect Version 8.0 or earlier; (4) Rich 
Text File (RTF) format; or (5) ASCII text file format.
    3. If by print only: Anyone who is unable to submit a comment in 
electronic form should submit an original and two paper copies by hand 
or by mail to the appropriate address listed above. It may not be 
feasible for the Copyright Office to place these comments on the 
Office's Web site.


    The Copyright Act of 1976 made it substantially easier for an 
author to obtain and maintain copyright in his or her creative works. 
Today, copyright subsists the moment an original work of authorship is 
fixed in a tangible form--it need not be registered with the Copyright 
Office or published with notice to obtain protection. While 
registration of claims to copyright with the Copyright Office is 
encouraged and provides important benefits to copyright holders, it is 
not required as a condition to copyright protection. Under the 1909 
Act, renewal registration was required to maintain protection beyond an 
initial 28-year term. Failure to register the renewal during the last 
year of the first term resulted in complete loss of protection. The 
1976 Act removed the renewal requirement going forward, but kept it for 
works copyrighted before 1978. It was not until 1992 that the renewal 
requirement was abolished altogether. These changes, as well as other 
changes in the 1976 Act and in the Berne Convention Implementation Act 
of 1988, were important steps toward harmonizing U.S. copyright law 
with international treaties. Specifically, the Berne Convention and 
other treaties dealing with copyright that have followed forbid the 
imposition of formalities as a condition to copyright, principally on 
the grounds that failure to comply with formalities can serve as a trap 
for the unwary, resulting in the inadvertent loss of copyright.\1\

    \1\ The Berne Convention article 5(2) ``no formalities'' 
requirement has been incorporated by reference into both the 
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights 
(``TRIPS''), and the WIPO Copyright Treaty (``WCT''). See Agreement 
on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Apr. 15, 
1994, art. 9.1, Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade 
Organization, Annex 1C, Legal Instruments--Results of the Uruguay 
Round vol. 31, 33 I.L.M. 81, 87 (1994); WIPO Copyright Treaty, Apr. 
12, 1997, art. 3, S. Treaty Doc. No. 105-17 (1997), 36 I.L.M. 65, 69 
(1997). The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (``WPPT'') 
contains an express ``no formalities'' provision without reference 
to the Berne Convention. See WIPO Performances and Phonograms 
Treaty, Apr. 12, 1997, art. 20, S. Treaty Doc. No. 105-17 (1997), 36 
I.L.M. 76, 80 (1997).

    Concerns have been raised, however, as to whether current copyright 
law imposes inappropriate burdens on users, including subsequent 
creators, of works for which the copyright owner cannot be located 
(hereinafter referred to as ``orphan'' works). The issue is whether 
orphan works are being needlessly removed from public access and their 
dissemination inhibited. If no one claims the copyright in a work, it 
appears likely that the public benefit of having access to the work 
would outweigh whatever copyright interest there might be. Such 
concerns were raised in connection with the adoption of the life plus 
50 copyright term with the 1976 Act and the 20-year term extension 
enacted with the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998.
    The Copyright Office has long shared these concerns about orphan 
works and has considered the issue to be worthy of further study. On 
January 5, Senators Orrin Hatch and Patrick Leahy of the Senate 
Judiciary Committee asked the Register of Copyrights to study this 
issue and to report to the Senate Judiciary Committee by the end of the 
year. Also in January, Reps. Lamar Smith and Howard Berman, the 
chairman and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee's 
Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, sent 
letters to the Register supporting this effort. The Office is gratified 
that Congress has shown an interest in this important issue and is 
pleased to assist Congress in its efforts to learn more about the 
problem and to consider appropriate solutions.
    Prior to the 1976 Act, the term of protection was limited to 28 
years if the copyright was not renewed. Under this system, if the 
copyright owner was no longer interested in exploiting the work, or a 
corporate owner no longer existed, or, in the case of individual 
copyright owners, there were no interested heirs to claim the 
copyright, then the work entered the public domain. Of course, it also 
meant that some copyrights were unintentionally allowed to enter the 
public domain, for instance, where the claimant was unaware that 
renewal had to occur within the one year window at the end of the first 
term or that the copyright was up for renewal. The legislative history 
to the 1976 Act reflects Congress' recognition of the concern raised by 
some that eliminating renewal requirements would take a large number of 
works out of the public domain and that for a number of those older 
works it might be difficult or impossible to identify the copyright 
owner in order to obtain permissions. Congress nevertheless determined 
that the renewal system should be discarded, in part, because of the 
``inadvertent and unjust loss of copyright'' it in some cases 
caused.\2\ More recently, in the mid-1990s, Congress heard concerns 
that the Copyright Term Extension Act would exacerbate problems in film 
preservation by maintaining copyright protection for older motion 
pictures for which the copyright owner is difficult to identify.\3\ 
Also, in our study on Digital Distance Education published in 1999, the 
Copyright Office identified several ``problems with licensing'' that 
educators asserted in attempting to use copyrighted materials in 
digital formats, including that ``it can be time-consuming, difficult 
or even impossible to locate the copyright owner or owners.'' \4\

    \2\ H.R. Rep. No. 94-1476, at 134 (1976).
    \3\ Letter from Larry Urbanski, Chairman, American Film Heritage 
Association, to Senator Strom Thurmond Opposing S. 505 (Mar. 31, 
1997), available at http://homepages.law.asu.edu/dkarjala/Opposing 
CopyrightExtension/letters/AFH.html (stating that as much as 75% of 
motion pictures from the 1920s are no longer clearly owned by 
anyone, and film preservationists as such cannot obtain the 
necessary permissions to preserve them).
    \4\ See Register of Copyrights, Report on Copyright and Digital 
Distance Education 41-43 (1999).

    A situation often described is one where a creator seeks to 
incorporate an older work into a new work (e.g., old photos, footage or 
recordings) and is willing to seek permission, but is not able to 
identify or locate the copyright owner(s) in order to seek permission. 
While in such circumstances the user might be reasonably confident that 
the risk of an infringement claim against this use is unlikely, under 
the current system the copyright in the work is still valid and 
enforceable, and the risk cannot be completely eliminated. Moreover, 
even where the user only copies portions of the work in a manner that 
would not likely be deemed infringing under the doctrine of fair use, 
it is asserted by some that the fair use defense is often too 
unpredictable as a general matter to remove the uncertainty in the 
user's mind.
    Some have claimed that many potential users of orphan works, namely 
individuals and small entities, may not have access to legal advice on 
these issues and cannot fully assess risk themselves. Moreover, even if 
they are able to determine with some certainty that there is little or 
no risk of losing a lawsuit, they may not be able to afford any risk of 
having to bear the cost of defending themselves in litigation.

[[Page 3741]]

Given the high costs of litigation and the inability of most creators, 
scholars and small publishers to bear those costs, the result is that 
orphan works often are not used--even where there is no one who would 
object to the use.
    This uncertainty created by copyright in orphan works has the 
potential to harm an important public policy behind copyright: To 
promote the dissemination of works by creating incentives for their 
creation and dissemination to the public. First, the economic incentive 
to create may be undermined by the imposition of additional costs on 
subsequent creators wishing to use material from existing works. 
Subsequent creators may be dissuaded from creating new works 
incorporating existing works for which the owner cannot be found 
because they cannot afford the risk of potential liability or even of 
litigation. Second, the public interest may be harmed when works cannot 
be made available to the public due to uncertainty over its copyright 
ownership and status, even when there is no longer any living person or 
legal entity claiming ownership of the copyright or the owner no longer 
has any objection to such use.
    Empirical analysis of data on trends in copyright registrations and 
renewals over the last century suggests that a large number of works 
may fall into the category of orphan works.\5\ Based on data of 
registrations of claims to copyright and their subsequent renewal under 
the 1909 Act, it appears that, overall, well less than half of all 
registered copyrighted works were renewed under the old copyright 
system. Because renewal was required to maintain protection of a work, 
this data suggests that, at least in many cases, there was insufficient 
interest a mere 28 years later to maintain copyright protection. The 
empirical data does not indicate why any particular works were not 
renewed, and no doubt, a certain portion of those works were not 
renewed due to inadvertence, mistake or ignorance on the part of the 
owner.\6\ With respect to many of these works, however, particularly 
those owned by legal entities or other sophisticated copyright owners, 
it can be assumed that the work no longer had sufficient economic value 
to the copyright claimant to merit renewal. Libraries and scholars have 
argued that those works that have so little economic value that they 
fail to merit the small expense and effort of renewal may nevertheless 
have scholarly or educational value and should not be needlessly barred 
from such use.

    \5\ See William M. Landes and Richard A. Posner, Indefinitely 
Renewable Copyright 22-41 (John M. Olin Law & Economics Working 
Paper No. 154, 2d Series, 2002), available at http://www.law. 
uchicago.edu/Lawecon/WkngPprs_151-175/154.wml-rap.copyright.new.pdf; see also H.R. Rep. No. 94-1476, at 136 (1976) 
(``A statistical study of renewal registrations made by the 
Copyright Office in 1966 supports the generalization that most 
material which is considered to be of continuing or potential 
commercial value is renewed. Of the remainder, a certain proportion 
is of practically no value to anyone, but there are a large number 
of unrenewed works that have scholarly value to historians, 
architects and specialists in a variety of fields'').
    \6\ Indeed, one reason why the renewal system was replaced in 
recent copyright enactments was because it at times served to impose 
an excessive penalty on the unwary copyright owner. See H.R. Rep. 
No. 94-1476, at 134 (1976) (``One of the worst features of the 
present copyright law [the 1909 Copyright Act] is the provision for 
renewal of copyright * * * In a number of cases it is the cause of 
inadvertent and unjust loss of copyright'').

    Several alternatives for addressing these issues have been proposed 
and at least one country, Canada, has adopted legislation that 
specifically addresses orphan works. For background purposes, the 
Copyright Office describes some examples in this notice. It is stressed 
that the Office does not take a position as to the viability or 
desirability of any specific proposals or systems at this time, but 
seeks input as to the pros and cons of, and issues raised by, each, as 
well as proposals for other solutions and analysis thereof.
    An example of a system that enables the use, in certain 
circumstances, of orphan works can be found in Canada's copyright law. 
The copyright law has a specific provision permitting anyone who seeks 
permission to make a copyright use of a work and cannot locate the 
copyright owner to petition the Canadian Copyright Board for a 
license.\7\ The Copyright Board makes a determination as to whether 
sufficient effort has been made to locate the owner. If so, the 
Copyright Board may grant a license for the proposed use. It will set 
terms and fees for the proposed use of the work in its discretion and 
will hold collected fees in a fund from which the copyright owner, if 
he or she ever surfaces and makes a claim, may be paid. It should be 
noted that since the enactment of these provisions in 1990, the 
Copyright Board has issued only 125 such licenses. More information 
about the Canadian approach can be found on the Copyright Board Web 
site at: http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/unlocatable/index-e.html.

    \7\ Copyright Act, R.S.C., ch. C-42, Sec.  77 (1985) (Can.).

    The United Kingdom has a provision that affects a small subset of 
orphan works, namely those for which it is reasonable to assume the 
copyright has already expired. The law provides that there is no 
infringement where the copyright owner cannot be found by a reasonable 
inquiry and where the date the copyright expired is uncertain but it is 
reasonable to assume that the copyright has expired.\8\

    \8\ Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, c. 48, Sec.  57 
(Eng.); see also Copyright and Related Rights Act, No. 28, 2000 
Sec.  88 (Ir.); Laws of Hong Kong, Chapter 528: Copyright Ordinance, 
June 27, 1997 Sec.  66, available at http://www.justice.gov.hk/Home.htm.

Specific Questions

    Through review of the submissions, the Copyright Office intends to 
determine the scope of the problem, evaluate appropriate next steps and 
create a record from which specific legislative proposals, if 
appropriate, could be considered and developed. To that end, this 
notice of inquiry sets forth several sets of questions, organized by 
issue, in an effort to begin gathering relevant information. Commenters 
do not need to respond to all questions, but are encouraged to respond 
to those as to which they have particular knowledge or information. 
Commenters may also frame additional questions or reframe any of the 
questions below.

1. Nature of the Problems Faced by Subsequent Creators and Users

    What are the difficulties faced by creators or other users in 
obtaining rights or clearances in pre-existing works? What types of 
creators or users are encountering these difficulties and for what 
types of proposed uses? How often is identifying and locating the 
copyright owner a problem? What steps are usually taken to locate 
copyright owners? Are difficulties often encountered even after the 
copyright owner is identified? If so, this is an issue that the 
Copyright Office also invites you to address.

2. Nature of ``Orphan works'': Identification and Designation

    How should an ``orphan work'' be defined? Should ``orphan works'' 
be identified on a case-by-case basis, looking at the circumstances 
surrounding each work that someone wishes to use and the attempts made 
to locate the copyright owner? Should a more formal system be 
established? For instance, it has been suggested that a register or 
other filing system be adopted whereby copyright owners could indicate 
continuing claims of ownership to the copyrights in their works.
    On the other hand, the establishment of a filing system whereby the 
potential user is required to file an intent to use

[[Page 3742]]

an unlocatable work has also been suggested. Would the Copyright Office 
or another organization administer and publish such filings? For 
instance, would the Copyright Office publish lists of these notices on 
a regular basis, similar to the lists of notices of intent to enforce 
restored copyrights filed with the Office? Questions arising from these 
different approaches are set forth in the next sections.
A. Case-by-Case Approach
    The ``ad hoc'' or ``case-by-case'' approach, like that adopted in 
Canada, would set forth parameters for the level of search that would 
need to be undertaken in order to establish that a particular work is 
``orphaned.'' Ensuing questions include the nature of those parameters. 
Should the focus be on whether the copyright holder is locatable? What 
efforts need be made to locate a copyright holder before it can be 
determined that the owner is not locatable? Would a search of 
registrations with the Copyright Office (or any other registries as 
described below in section B) and an attempt to reach the copyright 
owner identified on the work if any (plus any follow up) be sufficient? 
What other resources are commonly consulted to locate a copyright 
owner, and what resources should be consulted? Do resources like 
inheritance records, archives, directories of authors or artists need 
to be searched? Should there be an obligation to place an advertisement 
seeking the owner? Should factors such as the age of the work (which is 
discussed below), how obscure the work is or how long it has been since 
a publication occurred be taken into consideration?
B. Formal Approach
    Another approach, like that used in the 1909 Act, would require 
registration or some sort of filing by copyright owners to maintain 
their copyrights past a certain age and to assist in locating copyright 
owners.\9\ Would such a new registry or registries be created separate 
from the existing system of copyright registration (akin to the 
designated agent registry under section 512 of the Copyright Act) where 
copyright owners could identify themselves so that users could more 
easily find them? Should such a registry(ies) be privately owned or 
administered by a government agency like the U.S. Copyright Office? 
What would such a registry look like? What kind of information should 
be required from such a filing? Should the identification of a person 
to whom permission requests can be sent be required? What other 
information should be included? Also, how would the registry identify 
the ``works'' at issue, especially in light of the current multimedia 
age where works can take on many forms and spawn multiple derivative 
works? And, even more importantly, how could fraud and abuse of such a 
registry be avoided--i.e., what is to prevent someone from fraudulently 
claiming works as his own?

    \9\ See also H.R. 2601, 108th Cong. Sec.  3 (2003).

    Such a registration system could be optional as well as mandatory. 
Where, under a mandatory system, copyright owners could be required to 
make a filing in order to preserve their rights and/or prevent their 
works from being deemed ``orphan,'' under an optional registry, 
registration might provide additional benefits. Alternatively, under an 
optional system failure to register could carry certain penalties or 
limit remedies available to the right holder. If registration were 
mandatory, on the other hand, would failure to register create a 
rebuttable presumption that the work is ``orphaned,'' or would it 
conclusively be deemed ``orphaned'? (Questions as to the effect of a 
designation as an ``orphan work'' are set forth below in section 5). If 
optional, the registry might serve as just one factor in determining 
whether the copyright owner was locatable. How helpful would such a 
registration system be in determining whether a work was in fact 
``orphaned'? Would the registry then qualify as just another place that 
a potential user should look to find the owner? If so, how practicable 
would such a system be? What incentives would a copyright owner have to 
use such a system? Should the owner be permitted to acquire any 
additional benefits from registering, such as additional damages or a 
penalty for willful use of a work? Does this tread too closely to the 
copyright registration system? What would the effect be on the user? 
For instance, if a user did not check the registry, would it prevent 
the user from claiming that the work was orphaned? Would there be 
sufficient incentive for copyright owners to register in a permissive 

3. Nature of ``Orphan Works'': Age

    Should a certain amount of time have elapsed since first 
publication or creation in order for a work to be eligible for 
``orphaned'' status? If so, how much time? It might be helpful, in 
determining what an appropriate time period would be, to note some of 
the different benchmarks for term requirements that history and 
international conventions suggest. For example, under the 1909 Act, a 
work was to be renewed in the 28th year after publication. Current 
copyright law provides a presumption after the shorter of 95 years from 
publication or 120 years from creation that the work is in the public 
domain unless the Copyright Office's records indicate otherwise (and 
the Copyright Office issues a certified report to that effect).\10\ 
Current copyright law provides another benchmark in the right to 
terminate grants of transfers or licenses after 35 (and up to 40) years 
after the grant or publication date.\11\ Under existing international 
treaties, the term of protection for works measured other than by the 
life plus fifty term is generally fifty years from publication. The 
Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 extended terms in the U.S. by 20 
years, but at the same time recognized that certain uses should still 
be allowable in those last twenty years, namely uses by libraries and 
archives of certain works that are neither available at a reasonable 
price nor subject to normal commercial exploitation.\12\ Would the last 
twenty years of the copyright term, or any of the other benchmarks or 
time periods noted above, be an appropriate measure for eligibility as 
an ``orphan work'? Should it be the same for all categories of works, 
or different depending on the nature of the work? What if the term for 
a particular work is unknown or uncertain? If the copyright owner is 
not known or cannot be found, there will certainly be instances where 
the date of creation or death of the author will be unknown. Can it be 
presumed at a certain point that a work has entered into the period in 
which it can be recognized as an orphan work?\13\

    \10\ 17 U.S.C. Sec.  302(e) (2003).
    \11\ Sec.  203.
    \12\ Sec.  108(h). Specifically, this provision provides that in 
the last twenty years of the term of any published work, a library 
or archive, including a nonprofit educational institution that 
functions as such, may make any copyright use of the work (other 
than create derivative works) for purposes of preservation, 
scholarship or research, if it has determined on the basis of 
reasonable investigation, that (i) the work is not subject to normal 
commercial exploitation, (ii) a copy cannot be obtained at a 
reasonable price, and (iii) the copyright owner or its agent has not 
provided notice with the Copyright Office that neither (i) or (ii) 
applies to the work.
    \13\ For instance, the U.K. law cited above provides a complete 
defense against liability if the owner cannot be found after 
reasonable inquiry and the date of expiration is uncertain but it's 
reasonable to presume that the copyright has expired. See supra note 

4. Nature of ``Orphan Works'': Publication Status

    Should the status of ``orphan works'' only apply to published 
works, or are there reasons for applying it to

[[Page 3743]]

unpublished works as well? In Canada, for example, the system for 
unlocatable copyright owners only applies to published works. What are 
the reasons for applying it to unpublished works? If ``orphan work'' 
status would apply to unpublished works, how would such a system 
preserve the important right of first publication recognized by the 
Supreme Court in Harper & Row?\14\ What are the negative consequences 
of applying such a system to unpublished works?

    \14\ See generally Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. v. Nation 
Enters., 471 U.S. 539, 550-555 (1985).

5. Effect of a Work Being Designated ``Orphaned'

    However a work is identified and designated as ``orphaned,'' what 
would be the effects of such designation? Under systems for a 
mandatory, formal registry of maintained works, like the 1909 Act, the 
right to assert one's exclusive rights vis [agrave] vis others could 
similarly be lost, in whole or in part, if the work was not contained 
on the registry. Should this loss of rights apply only to the 
particular work at the time of use, or only to the particular use or 
user, or would it affect a permanent loss of rights as against all uses 
and users?
    Other possibilities include imposing a limitation on remedies for 
owners whose works are ``orphaned''--without affecting the copyright 
itself. For instance, under the Canadian approach, the Copyright Board 
sets the license fees and other terms for the use and collects the 
payments on behalf of the copyright owner should one ever be 
identified. Under that approach, users could be confident that their 
use of the work would not subject them to the full range of remedies 
under the Copyright Act, but only an amount akin to a fee for use. At 
the same time, copyright owners would not be concerned about the 
inadvertent loss of rights from failure to pay the fee or take other 
requisite action. Domestically, the Copyright Clearance Initiative of 
the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic of American 
University's Washington College of Law is currently developing a 
proposal that would limit the liability for users of orphan works and 
not result in any loss of copyright per se on the part of the copyright 
owner.\15\ Under that proposal, only a recovery of a reasonable royalty 
would be allowed in infringement actions with respect to orphan works 
where good faith efforts have been made to locate the copyright owner. 
Are there other approaches that might be used? If a reasonable royalty 
approach is used, how should it be determined in any given case? To 
settle disputes as to the appropriate fee, is traditional Federal court 
litigation the right dispute resolution mechanism, or should an 
administrative agency be charged with resolving such disputes or should 
another alternative dispute resolution mechanism be adopted?

    \15\ Pursuant to that proposal, copyright law would be amended 
to limit liability for the use of works where the user has been 
unable to locate the copyright holder after making good faith 
efforts. Liability could be limited to a ``reasonable royalty'' or 
the like, or could be akin to the limitation of U.S. Federal 
Government liability to ``reasonable and entire compensation as 
damages * * *, including minimum statutory damages.'' 28 U.S.C. 
Sec.  1498(b) (2003). Complex issues raised by that proposal include 
how to determine what constitutes ``good faith efforts'' to locate 
the copyright owner and how to determine and/ or settle what a 
reasonable royalty would be.

    Are there other measures that could be applied in cases of orphan 
works? How would these, or any of the others described above, affect 
the incentives for authors of such works, particularly small copyright 
owners or individuals who might bear a greater burden than copyright 
owners with more resources?

6. International Implications

    How would the proposed solutions comport with existing 
international obligations regarding copyright? For example, Article 
5(2) of the Berne Convention generally prohibits formalities as a 
condition to the ``enjoyment and exercise'' of copyright. For any 
proposed solution, it must be asked whether it runs afoul of this 
provision. Would a system involving limitations on remedies be 
consistent with the enforcement provisions of the Agreement on Trade-
Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) or the prohibition 
against conditioning the enjoyment or exercise of copyright on 
compliance with formalities of TRIPS and other international agreements 
to which the U.S. is party? Would such proposals satisfy the three-step 
test set forth in TRIPS, Art. 13, requiring that all limitations and 
exceptions to the exclusive rights be confined to ``certain special 
cases that do not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work and 
do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right 
holder'? Are there any other international issues raised by a proposed 

    Dated: January 21, 2005.
Marybeth Peters,
Register of Copyrights.
[FR Doc. 05-1434 Filed 1-25-05; 8:45 am]