Orphan Works Legislation and Copyright Conundrums

Kenny Crews at Collectanea says the orphan works bills in the House and Senate impose hurdles for scholarly/research/casual uses. Crews offers a real but slightly absurd example to illustrate the point:

I visited the Grand Canyon with the family not too long ago. After cajoling family members into several snapshots, I kindly handed the camera to a total stranger, requesting a photo of the whole gang. The stranger complied, took a picture, and handed that camera back to me. I might own the camera and stored image, but the tourist who just drifted back to Iowa composed the picture and evidently under the law owns the copyright. Now I am nervous! If I post the picture to my website or blog, or even include it in my holiday newsletter, will it eventually fall into the hands of the stranger, who still owns the copyright? Will I get a stiff lawyer letter? I do not know the name of the photographer. I have an orphan work problem!

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