Research project -- Orphan works



Orphan works have remained an unresolved problem in copyright law in Australia and many other countries.

The Orphan Works project represents an attempt to identify mechanisms for resolving the conflicting interests and requirements of a wide range of stakeholders dealing with works whose creators or owners are not easily locatable, and follows failed attempts at legislation in the UK and US, and moves in the EU to introduce such reforms in the proposed Single Markets Act.

Australian solutions would need to take into account both international proposals and local conditions, and may well not start with legislation. The project is a useful outcome of the 2009 Unlocking IP conference under the Unlocking IP project (below), where a number of issues around Orphan Works were discussed, including difficulties with s200AB of the Copyright Act 1968, and the Copyright Agency Ltd offered encouragement to resource research and consultation efforts aimed at bridging the gap between the various stakeholders. The Orphan Works project is supported in part by Copyright Agency Ltd.

The Centre is doing a research projectwith assistance from Copyright Agency Ltd as part of a project funded by their cultural fund to explore the nature of the problem and possible options which might meet with a broad consensus of support.


There was an expert Workshop on 8 February 2011 at UNSW:


  • David Vaile, Issues paper circulated after the workshop, including at a subsequent UTS workshop.

  • David Vaile, Presentation for the Higher Education Legal conference, Sydney, 27 July 2011 [PPT]

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