A curious French plan known as 'reLIRE' is in the offing which could have serious consequences for authors - SFF or otherwise - who have published books in French prior to 2001.
Under this plan, if you published a novel, novella or short story in France prior to 2001 and it is now out of print, the work would now be considered 'orphaned'. The Bibliothèque Nationale de France is placing all such works on an online database. Writers and copyright-holders have six months to check the list and register that the story is still in copyright. If they do not, the works will be auctioned off to publishers to use as they see fit, with them keeping almost all of any resulting profits.
If you do have such works, you have to fill out a form (currently only available in French) and provide a valid French ID card number or a passport number. If you don't have a passport, tough. If you don't spot the story on the database in the first six months, tough. If the author has died and his or her family or heirs fail to act on any of this, tough.
So far, works by SFF authors including Robert Silverberg, George Alec Effinger, Ursula LeGuin, Samuel R Delany, Vonda McIntyre, and Roger Zelazny have been found on the database.
The initial database list was issued on 21 March. This means that authors, their representatives and heirs have only four months from now, until 21 September, to act on the issue or risk losing control of their works in France.
More on this alarming story here and from the Science Fiction Writers of America here.