You may have heard or read about new federal legislation on the subject of what are called “Orphan Works.”
Briefly, these are intellectual property, such as photographs, that someone wants to use and that same user claims they cannot locate the author/owner. Regardless of where you stand on the many questions involved, you would be wise to learn as much as you can about it. As creators of intellectual property (photographs,) whatever law is passed will dramatically affect all of us. Some of the most useful resources I have found include:
Just to complicate things, here is some literature on Information about international copyright law, which impacts all photographers. See www.pro-imaging.org/content/category/17/52/124/
Do not let all of this overwhelm you. i would encourage every photographer to learn about American copyright law and how “Orphan Works” legislation will change that.
On a more upbeat note, the City of Levallois, France and Epson (the printer company) are launching an award to promote contemporary photography in all its forms. Learn more at www.photo-levallois.org/.
The deadline is July 31, 2008.