Skip to main content

Copyright Guide for Faculty: Orphan Works

What is an Orphan Work?

"An orphan work is one in which the copyright owner cannot be identified or located." (Harris, n.d.)

For additional information, visit the Canadian Copyright Law Blog, by Lesley Ellen Harris at

How do I handle an orphan work?

If the copyright owner is unknown or cannot be located, permission must be sought to use the work if the amount to be copied or distributed exceeds the limit allotted under  "Fair Dealing". The request must be directed to the Copyright Board of Canada. The Unlocatable Copyright Owners section details this information.