There is a bill currently before both houses of the U.S. Congress which will essentially revoke the Copyright Act. I have links below to both the House and Senate versions of this bill, laughingly titles “Orphaned Works Act of 2008″ which will effectively remove any recourse a copyright owner has for redress if a work is infringed on as long as the infringer states that they conducted “a standard search for the copyright owner” before infringing. It also limits any damages to would be “usual and customary” costs of sale of the copyrighted material.
When passed (and I have no doubt it is going to be because it creates a loophole you can drive a semi through for Public TV, Churches, non-profit organizations and Publishers) basically means that a copyright is not worth the $30 you sent the Copyright Office.
Background information on this bill is available HERE
If someone steals one of my books and makes a million (or so) on a movie adaptation), all I can collect is the original $20 book price.