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Copyright works: seeking the lost

Reference: 2014-001

Launch date: 10 January 2014
Closing date: 28 February 2014

Orphan works are copyright works (such as books, photographs, films and music) for which one or more of the copyright owners cannot be found. If someone wants to copy a work to use it in a book, an exhibition, on a website or in a documentary, they need to obtain permission from the rights holders (creators, publishers, broadcasters etc). At present, if the work is an orphan then it cannot be reproduced lawfully.

The Government's orphan works scheme aims to address the issue of reproducing works when rights holders cannot be found. The UK wide scheme provided under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 External Link, allows for the commercial and non-commercial use of any type of orphan work, by any applicant, once they have undertaken a diligent search for missing rights holders and paid a licence fee.

Alongside the UK scheme, the Government is implementing the complementary EU orphan works Directive External Link. This will allow publicly accessible archives to digitise certain works and to display them on their websites for access across the EU.

This technical consultation is seeking views on the legal effectiveness, structure and effect of the draft secondary legislation only. The overall policy is outside the scope of this consultation.

This consultation is particularly relevant to rights holders, their representatives and to anyone wishing to reproduce copyright works where the copyright owner cannot be found. However, it is not limited to these groups and responses from all interested parties are welcome.

  • Consultation document - Copyright works: seeking the lost PDF document(875Kb)

  • Next steps following consultation

    This consultation closed on Friday 28 February 2014. Responses to the consultation should be available for publication in the next few weeks, and a full Government response will follow on from this in May. It is intended that regulations to establish a UK orphan works scheme and to implement the EU Directive could be laid for Parliamentary consideration this Summer, for commencement in October 2014.

    The IPO will continue to liaise with sector-specific groups on various aspects of the domestic orphan works licensing scheme - diligent search, pricing and licensing. If you have further questions about the consultation and next steps, please email the copyright team.