Cost Allocation and Copyright Orphans

15 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2006 Last revised: 7 Mar 2013

Date Written: August 1, 2006


One frustrating aspect of the ongoing struggle between proponents of strong visions of copyright and proponents of freer access to older works arises from so-called orphan works. Orphan works are those that remain in copyright, but whose copyright holders cannot be contacted for permission to reuse the works. Sometimes this barrier arises because the holder cannot be determined at all; more often, though, the barrier is one of administrative inconvenience in actually contacting the holder. This short essay springs from examining one aspect of the context that should have been - but largely was not - considered in the study process that resulted in the Register of Copyright's Report on Orphan Works: The cost-allocation implications of various visions of an actual policy concerning orphan works.

Keywords: copyright, orphan work, cost allocation

JEL Classification: D39, D80, K11

Suggested Citation

Petit, C. E., Cost Allocation and Copyright Orphans (August 1, 2006). Available at SSRN: or

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