The «Orphan Works» issue is clearly linked to the notion of copyright, so I have been thinking about the orphan works in the context of that link and it's original purpose.
From my perspective, the copyright concept is to encourage individual and collective authors to innovate so that society may benefit from it. To facilitate this, the copyright law is designed for one basic thing: to respect will of authors regarding how their work should be treated in the society.
The rest in the copyright domain should be a derivative from the main objective. An author’s will is usually expressed in a license. Authors may decide to charge for the use of their work which should be respected. Authors may decide to publish their work under Creative Commons License, and that spirit should be respected as well. The notion of copyright should not be considered good or evil in by itself: it is value neutral.
Many more developments happened in the copyright domain and quite a few groups injected their special interests into the copyright laws. To untangle the mess, however, one needs to have the original intentions clear.