In 2006, the "orphan works" bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. It is still before a committee and is actively being considered.
It is ostensibly a bill to make it possible to use works when the copyright owner can't be identified or found. Effectively, it takes away all passive copyright protection and would force everyone to pay to protect every single thing they create, including snapshots. If we don't pay to register the works, we lose all right to them, and anyone can use them.
This bill is still before Congress, and they're still having hearings on them. I'm posting a link to San Souci's blog entry on this bill (which has a little souci, anyway and to a video of the May 13 House subcommittee hearing on this bill. The hearing is an hour and a half or so long, so I haven't yet viewed the whole thing. That will have to wait for the weekend, but I did want to make others aware of it, partly because I think some people will want to view it and partly because the link establishes that this isn't just an urgan legend and the bill is still active.