A panel at yesterday's Future of Music Coalition summit addressed the growing issue of "orphan works," defined as "unlocateable copyright works." These recordings are often old folk ballads whose copyright was always unclear, and archivists have begun to make an effort to track down and fairly compensate the songwriters. The panel also addressed the common misconception that just because these works are not copyrighted, they are automatically public domain.

The Future of Music Coalition is a not-for-profit collaboration between members of the music, technology, public policy and intellectual property law communities. The two-day summit, now in its seventh year, is held on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, DC.