From their site: “What is an orphan film?
Narrowly defined, it’s a motion picture abandoned by its owner or caretaker. More generally, the term refers to all manner of films outside of the commercial mainstream: public domain materials, home movies, outtakes, unreleased films, industrial and educational movies, independent documentaries, ethnographic films, newsreels, censored material, underground works, experimental pieces, silent-era productions, stock footage, found footage, medical films, kinescopes, small- and unusual-gauge films, amateur productions, surveillance footage, test reels, government films, advertisements, sponsored films, student works, and sundry other ephemeral pieces of celluloid (or paper or glass or tape or . . . ).”
Started at the University of South Carolina and now sponsored by the Cinema Studies department of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, film historian Dan Streible’s Orphan Film Symposium meets biennially to discuss the preservation and study of film without copyright.