The European Parliament has passed an orphan works bill.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
Under the new rules, a work would be deemed to be "orphan" if a "diligent" search made in good faith failed to identify or locate the copyright holder. The legislation lays down criteria for carrying out such searches.
Works granted orphan status would be then be made public, for non-profit purposes only, through digitisation. A work deemed to be "orphan" in any one Member State would then qualify as "orphan" throughout the EU. This would apply to any audiovisual or printed material, including a photograph or an illustration embedded in a book, published or broadcast in any EU country.
MEPs agreed that the right holder should be entitled to put an end to the orphan status of a work at any time and claim appropriate compensation for the use made of it.
They nonetheless inserted a provision to protect public institutions from the risk of having to pay large sums to authors who show up later.