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UK Gov: 91 million orphan works ready to license – Apply now

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A new licensing scheme launched by the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Intellectual Property Office ‘could give wider access to at least 91 million culturally valuable creative works including diaries, photographs, oral history recordings and documentary films.’

They say: These works are covered by copyright, but rights holders cannot be found by those who need to seek permission to reproduce them. Under the new scheme, a licence can be granted by the Intellectual Property Office so that these works can be reproduced on websites, in books and on TV without breaking the law, while protecting the rights of owners so they can be remunerated if they come forward.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister for Intellectual Property said:

The UK’s trailblazing orphan works licensing scheme enables access to a wider range of our culturally important works.

The scheme has been designed to protect right holders and give them a proper return if they reappear, while ensuring that citizens and consumers will be able to access more of our country’s great creations, more easily.

The scheme also aims to reunite copyright holders with their works and ensure they are paid for their creations, by requiring the applicant to conduct a diligent search and allowing the right holder to search the register of granted licences.

This ground breaking scheme builds on UK and international best practice and is the first to use an electronic application system and searchable register of the licences granted. It is being implemented alongside the EU Orphan Works Directive that enables cultural institutions to digitise certain orphan works in their collection and display them on their websites. Together these 2 schemes will help to display more of the UK’s cultural work at home and across Europe.

The UK scheme will be administered by the UK Intellectual Property Office and is part of the wider programme of work to modernise the UK’s copyright system following the Hargreaves Review. Users will pay a fee to obtain a licence to use the work, which will be kept for the copyright owner should they come forward.

Apply for a licence to use an orphan work ‘Find out how to gain permission to copy a creative work for which the right holder(s) cannot be found, known as an orphan work.’