UK consultation on orphan works

The UK's Intellectual Property Office has opened a consultation into orphan works -- works that are still in copyright but whose copyright holder can't be ascertained or located. The US Supreme Court case Eldred v Ashcroft heard that 98 percent of the works in copyright are orphans, and this problem will only get worse as the duration of copyright keeps on getting extended.

Parliament enacted the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which set out a plan for letting people buy and use orphan works with an escrow fund for absentee rightsholders. Now, the IPO is seeking opinions on how that system should run.

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.

Copyright works: seeking the lost (Thanks, Gary!)

Notable Replies

  1. UK consultation? So they ask/get told by Big Daddy US Gov what to do?

  2. I'm gonna tell you how it will go:

    The UK makes the consultation, which goes directly to the trash can, enacts a law that enables big media to misappropriate most orphan works with minimal effort and maximum benefit.

    The End (?)

  3. If by "Brits" you mean "the current British government", then I'd say you were spot-on. Also, do you talk about "Pakis", "Japs" and "Chinks"? Just curious.

  4. The media?

    You didn't answer MY question.

  5. I have a superb idea! As we've all learned, the various 'performance rights agencies' and 'copyright collectives' of the world have a fantastic track record of definitely not screwing over artists who are alive, known, and (however feebly) able to advocate for their own interests. They also have a genuinely heartwarming approach to interacting with the public.

    Who better to administer a slush fund of indeterminate size in the name of people who almost certainly won't come back to collect it? Such a position of trust and honor requires the sort of people who are honest even when not being watched, and don't skim from the till, so what could possibly go wrong?

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