The U.S. Copyright Office wants comments on
"the issues raised by 'orphan works,' i.e., copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or even impossible to locate. Concerns have been raised that the uncertainty surrounding ownership of such works might needlessly discourage subsequent creators and users from incorporating such works in new creative efforts or making such works available to the public."This is wonderful news, and a sign of that people like Larry Lessig are making progress in educating the powers-that-be on the issues.
Public Knowledge has a good summary.