I've been thinking about the recent copyright office call for comments on orphan works. What is it that I would wish? The word that keeps coming back to me is "transparency." I have to live within the system, but it would be so nice if one could have tools that helped with this process -- that is
- online data bases FROM THE COPYRIGHT OFFICE (or somewhere else official) that one could search easily to see if a work has been renewed
- online data bases FROM THE COPYRIGHT OFFICE (or somewhere else official) that provided current contact information for any work under copyright
- some sort of scheme whereby if one couldn't find the owner after reasonable search, the Copyright Office would say it was ok to use the work (similiar to the Canadian system?)
Right now, it all seems to impossible, and most of that is because it is impossible to determine the easiest questions without a great deal of searching, nevermind the problem they are actually asking about, which is what to do when a work has lost its owner.