Changes in technologies and global markets are brought about by digital convergence. Europe s answer to the current development is the i2010 program, in which one of the flagship initiatives is the digital libraries. The digitalization of library material has amazing potential to allow people to access material from the comfort of their homes, which until now have been out of reach from general public. However, no work can be digitized and disposed without having the rights cleared, therefore it is important to have a good regulatory framework and clearance process to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to all parties. Today, this framework does not yet exist. That is where the issue about Orphan Works appears to the public.
The central aim of this thesis is to contribute and propose a solution to the Orphan Works issue currently discussed in the EU and the U.S. I do this by firstly defining the scope of the issue and illustrating the ongoing digitization projects in the different countries. Secondly I outline the current Copyright legislation with a focus on the EU Copyright Directive 2001/29/EC, the Berne Convention, WIPO World Copyright Treaty and WIPO Phonograms and Performances Treaty and European national laws. Finally, I display the approaches adopted by Canada and Japan; solutions discussed in Europe and in the U.S. will be analyzed and a detailed examination of the Nordic Extended Collective Agreement will be given. In the evaluation of the solutions that are under consideration, the Nordic agreement will be considered as being able to provide a solution for both non-commercial and commercial use of Orphan Works. In order to achieve any real progress at European level, I conclude that it is essential that the EU Commission will take necessary measures to harmonize the general requirements for a common European solution, otherwise the least common denominator will be that Member States secure that all other national solutions are accepted.