Locating rightsholders can be a tall order, and occasionally even the most expert come up empty handed. That's why Canada's Copyright Act
gives the Copyright Board a special power: in cases where a
rightsholder simply cannot be located, the Board is authorized to stand
in its place and issue a licence. For many years, Access Copyright
has supported the Board in its duties to unlocatable rightsholders -
supplementing search efforts, recommending licence terms and holding
royalties for missing rightsholders. Under the Act, the
rightsholder is entitled to come forward and claim royalties collected
up to 5 years after the expiry of a Board licence. In 1999 Access Copyright's
role was formalized in a memorandum of understanding with the Board.
This work represents a logical extension of our mandate to safeguard
the rights of creators and publishers in Canada.
There are many ways to locate a copyright owner. Even if you
do not know the copyright owner's name and address, your search may be
easier than you think.
After you have made reasonable efforts to locate a copyright owner of a
published work, without success, you may ask for assistance through the
- Start by trying to contact the publisher and author of the work.
There are many sources of information available through libraries and
the Internet that can give you phone numbers of addresses of publishers
- If the author is no longer alive, you must find out who
inherited the copyright. Try to find out who administered the estate by
contacting the publisher of the work.