One of the big problems with the repeated extensions of the length of copyright protection is that it's really an extremely small percentage of works that have an active market that long. Many of the other works have become "orphan works." Basically, no one has any idea how to reach whoever it is that might own the copyright. That's problematic, because that content is basically dead. No one can ever use it without, technically, violating copyright law. So, some people are finally trying to address this with some "orphan works" legislation that would basically let you use content if, after an exhaustive search, you couldn't find the owner. This seems like a reasonable thing to put in place -- barring more reasonable overall copyright law. And, honestly, you might wonder who would possibly oppose it? Photographers, apparently. They seem to think that this will allow people to make cursory searches -- and since many photos appear without attribution, people will be free to reuse them all the time. That, of course, isn't quite what the proposed legislation says. It supposedly puts in place a pretty high standard for anyone who uses supposedly orphaned works. Also, as Jerry Brito points out in the link above, if anything, this should just make more incentive for photographers to make sure their works are credited when used.
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