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Canada's 'Orphan Works' regime: Unlocatable owners and the Copyright Board

TitleCanada's 'Orphan Works' regime: Unlocatable owners and the Copyright Board
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsDeBeer, J. F., & Bouchard M.
PublisherOxford University Commonwealth Law Journal
Start Page215
Issue2 (Winter)
Publication Languageen
KeywordsCanada, copyright, Copyright Board, orphan, orphan work, unlocatable owner

This article analyses Canada’s approach to the problem of unlocateable copyright owners, more commonly called the problem of orphan works. Section 77 of the Copyright Act empowers the Copyright Board of Canada to issue a non-exclusive licence to an applicant whose reasonable efforts to locate a copyright owner have been unsuccessful. The article begins with a legal analysis of this statutory scheme, based on a review of every application made to the Board pursuant to s 77. These applications were catalogued into a database to facilitate detailed, empirical review and statistical analysis. This analysis lays the groundwork for comparisons among the Canadian system and approaches that already exist or are being considered in other jurisdictions, an evaluation of the underlying public policy issues, and a discussion of possible legislative or regulatory responses to the problem.

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