Own-it | Intellectual Property Know-How for Creative Businesses


Want to use creative material but can't find the author? Here's how...

Published 06.02.15 at 10:29

The Intellectual Property Office have launched a system to make previously unavailable copyright works accessible to the public for reproduction. Referred to as orphan works, these works include creative material such as prose, photography, film and music etc, which are subject to copyright but whose original authors are unknown or cannot be found to ask for permission to use the work. As such, this new scheme launched by the government last October, seeks to widen access to these works for both commercial and non-commercial use through 'market rate' licenses.

The right to use orphan works will only be granted if organisations cannot find the owner of those works after a due diligence search, which must be submitted with the application. Applications for exploitation of orphan works under the new licensing regime may be subject to refusal by the IPO if "in its reasonable opinion, a proposed use or adaptation is not appropriate" or "on any other reasonable ground". Read more about the IPO's guidelines here.

If you are interested in licensing an orphan work head over here to submit an application.

Photography: some rights reserved by Jenny Downing


Please note that this article discusses the legal position in the UK at the time of publication. It provides general information only but is not to be regarded as legal advice. You must take advice from a specialist lawyer in relation to your specific circumstances. Further, you should seek additional legal advice when dealing with parties based in other parts of the world or works originating from other parts of the world as the legal position may vary.


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