Liberating Orphan Works from The Copyright Orphanage: The Malaysian Perspective
Orphan works are works that are still protected by copyright and whose owners cannot be identified or located by prospective users for copyright clearance. Many countries have addressed this issue since the emergence of the problem, and it remains a legitimate subject of inquiry in this present day. However, Malaysia is yet to initiate public consultations and formulate legislative and non-legislative solutions to the orphan work problem. Hence, this paper aspires to underline the challenges and obstacles in exploiting the orphan works in Malaysia. It starts with a brief introduction to the orphan works problem and its causes. It further highlights the legal and policy uncertainties about the orphan work phenomenon in Malaysia and its implication to higher learning education. Besides, this paper also examines the current practices in the United Kingdom and Canada. Finally, this paper proposes some suggestions into what Parliament and policymakers have to do and avoid when solving Malaysia's orphan work phenomenon. It is hoped that the access to the orphan works in Malaysia would not be problematised, thereby liberating them from the copyright orphanage.
Keywords: Copyright law, Orphan works, Orphan works licensing scheme